District Wants Many Happy Returns - Of Its Textbooks

Posted: July 13, 1999

Reading, writing, arithmetic - and now, returning.

That's returning those textbooks in good shape next June, for the city's public school students.

The Board of Education yesterday unanimously adopted a policy requiring students to return textbooks at the end of the school year, or face fines and other penalties.

The get-tough stance is the latest chapter in a three-year effort to supply enough books for approximately 210,000 students.

Money for school books and related instructional materials has increased from $9 million in 1994 to a projected $23 million in the upcoming school year.

But the School District has been shortchanged by about $1 million each of the last two school years in lost or stolen books.

The new policy requires students, parents or both to sign a statement in September acknowledging their responsibility to return books in good shape in June. It allows principals to impose fines or school service on students, or withhold report cards and other privileges.

"I think kids like to get their report cards. I think they like to go to proms. I think they like to participate in athletics," Schools Superintendent David Hornbeck said after yesterday's board meeting.

The board also approved buying three former parochial schools to relieve overcrowding in two neighborhood schools.

The district is buying the former King of Peace school, 26th and Reed streets, for $775,000, the former St. Edmond parish school and convent, 23rd and Mifflin streets, for $1.8 million and the former St. Vincent school at 70th Street and Greenway Avenue, in Southwest Philadelphia.

Send e-mail to haneyk@phillynews.com

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