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Trend Shows K-12 School Districts Embracing Solution to Gain Better Control of Textbooks

MCHENRY, Ill., Aug. 25, 2009 – School districts across the country that have implemented new tools and processes for textbook management are now recognizing savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as ensuring students have immediate access to textbooks when they need them.

With K-12 districts seeking to gain greater accountability and control over one of their largest and most important annual investments, there is growing momentum to adopt Follett Software Company’s Destiny Textbook Manager – a centralized, browser-based system.  Destiny Textbook Manager is now in more than 11,000 schools (800 districts) nationwide, a marked increase from just four years ago when the product was in 2,000 schools.  A total of 37 of the country’s 100 largest school districts have chosen to partner with Follett Software Co., while 700 new schools signed up in March of this year alone.

“Some districts are deferring textbook purchases and looking for ways to stretch their current textbook materials for a longer period of time, while others are looking to protect any textbook investment they are making with the federal stimulus funds they are receiving,” said Tom Schenck, president, Follett Software Co.  “We especially pride ourselves on being able to offer districts a complete solution, well beyond our market-leading software product.”

In Plainfield, Ill., officials at Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 offer “conservative estimates” that Destiny Textbook Manager has saved them at least $500,000 since investing in the product.

“This will allow the district to ensure that students will have access to the textbooks they need, when they need them, while at the same time saving our taxpayers a tremendous amount of money,” Linda Casey, the district’s director of instructional technology and media, told The Plainfield Sun (7/10/09) in a recently published story.  “The system helps to eliminate over-ordering and stockpiling of books and resource materials.  It also reduces replacement costs by being able to transfer textbooks from one campus to another.”

Other school districts that have recognized considerable savings and reduced textbook losses with Destiny Textbook Manager include two California schools: Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District ($300,000 in savings) and Pomona (Calif.) Unified School District (reduced textbook losses by 25 percent and reduced duplicate orders by 70 percent).  The management of textbooks is destined to become even more crucial in California where a provision in the state’s new budget agreement would suspend the adoption of textbooks for five years.

Destiny Textbook Manager success stories can be found coast to coast, from Escambia County School District in Pensacola, Fla. ($200,000-plus savings in first two years) to Higley Unified School District in Gilbert, Ariz.  The Higley district typically spends nearly $2 million a year on textbook purchases, and are predicting annual savings of some $200,000 a year with Destiny Textbook Manager, officials reported recently.

“We’re shifting resources as opposed to buying resources,” Joyce Lewis, Higley’s supervisor of instructional technology, told the East Valley Tribune (6/2/09).  “We’re also selling off obsolete and excess textbooks.”

Schenck said his company’s product helps districts:

·   Eliminate over-ordering and stockpiling of books

·   Effectively monitor and track textbook transfers across multiple locations

·   Ensure that students have the right textbooks when they need them

·   Improve their ability to collect fines for lost and damaged materials

Accountability is one more pivotal asset of the program since staff, students and parents assume increased responsibility for textbooks assigned to them.  And Florida districts have taken keen interest in legislation passed earlier this year that requires public school students who lose or damage textbooks to pay 100 percent of replacement costs instead of 50 to 75 percent under the previous law.

In South Carolina, meanwhile, the Department of Education – with 86 districts, 1,150 schools and 676,000 students – implemented Destiny Textbook Manager on a statewide basis in 2007.  Follett Software Company has entered into a new contract with the state this year to develop additional enhancements for the system.  Bottom line, according to state officials, is that its chief goal of ensuring that “textbooks are available and in the hands of each and every student” has been reached.

“Although some schools had very good inventory systems in place, others didn’t,” said Dr. Jim White, the state’s manager of instructional materials.  “Our new system will help all schools and districts keep better track of materials and recover fees when they’re due.  We are now able to clearly identify where our losses are occurring and take action to reduce them.”

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