Hitting the books to study may soon become a distant memory for students.

Dennis Anderson, who serves as the textbook coordinator for Waxahachie ISD, explained to Lions Club members at their meeting this week about the changes adopted during the last legislative session regarding textbooks.

Anderson said the state Legislature adopted Senate Bill 6, which changes how textbooks are classified. The word “textbook” has been replaced with the phrase of “instructional material” in the education code. Instructional material now incorporates items that include textbooks, electronic textbooks, computer software, subscription services such as Lexis Nexis and Internet content.

“The state required that each student has access to a textbook and it was up to us to maintain that inventory. Right now, the district holds about $2.3 million worth of textbooks,” Anderson said.

“Here in Waxahachie, there are approximately 520 students per grade level, kindergarten up through ninth grade.

“That would require our district to buy 5,200 books or order 5,200 books from the state, which is over and above the teacher additions, workbooks, electronic media and other resources,” he said.

SB 6 also removes ownership of instructional materials from the state and gives property rights to the purchasing district or school. The bill also set up an instructional fund and created a per-student allotment.

With the change in classification to “instructional materials,” the district can purchase technology items such as iPads, Kindles and or Nooks, he said, saying those can be used to directly download books in a digital form. The district has already set a server aside to store electric books from where students will be able to download their books. Once downloaded, the book will stay on a portable device for a set amount of time before automatically deleting itself to make itself available to others. 

“Libraries are slowly going to go away and are going to be replaced by banks of servers. What we are gaining is instance access to magazines, books and novels without even leaving the comfort of your own home,” he said.

“Electronic media is here to stay and not going to go away,” he said. “Kindles, iPads and Nooks are going to get cheaper and they are going to become as necessary as pens and paper.”

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.