Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mismanagement costs Rochester, N.Y. school district $1.4 million over last two years

Rochester, N.Y. - A teacher scoops up copies of a writing textbook at the Rochester School District's annual book giveaway."We've been asking for this stuff all year," she mutters, "and they're throwing it away."

A few steps away, inside the district's book depository, hardbound copies of an illustrated history of China fill 19 cases, 18 of which are still wrapped in the publisher's tape. All await shipping to a shredder.

Fresh from a pickup of discarded books at the depository, a trucker parks his rig on the scale at a Rochester recycling plant. His load weighs in at 10,460 pounds, more than five tons. "Oh yeah," he remarks to a reporter. "They go through a lot of books."

Those are a few of the scenes recorded by the Democrat and Chronicle as it examined the textbook procurement procedures of the Rochester School District, where books can go unused for years, tens of thousands more are discarded annually and students complain they do not have books to take home.

Reviews of inventories and purchase orders; interviews with educators, parents, and students; and an inspection of the book depository revealed that the district's process for buying, tracking and distributing textbooks has been plagued by mismanagement and miscommunication for years.

For more on this article, go to The (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

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