Greencastle schools use creative math to buy textbooks

August 06, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- While state lawmakers struggle to pass a budget in Harrisburg, the Greencastle-Antrim School Board managed to squeeze enough from its funds to buy K-6 grade students updated mathematics textbooks.

In a 7-0 vote Thursday, the board agreed to spend $85,044 on a new math curriculum for its primary, elementary and middle school students through grade six.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Crider said the program, enVision Math, will better prepare district students for state standardized tests.

The current curriculum is at least 10 years old, Crider said.

Fundamentally, mathematics have not changed in those 10 years. The methods of teaching and testing, however, have changed, he said.

"The equation 'two plus two equals four' is the same now as it was then, but the way we test now is very different and this new series is designed to help in that arena," he said. "This program is very interactive and has many technological components."


Greencastle-Antrim had hoped to spend state money on the new math program, Crider said.

The district was slated for more than $150,000 from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, but with the budget still in limbo, it is unlikely money will be available anytime soon, said Richard Lipella, business manager for the school district.

The administration hoped to purchase a $135,000 version of the curriculum, but was waiting on state money to move forward, Crider said.

With the first day of school just weeks away, he asked the board to consider purchasing a simpler version of program, priced at $85,044, despite no money from the state.

To help foot the bill, administrators from the elementary, primary and middle schools dug into their budgets to find available money.

Collectively the three schools were able to free up about $62,500 for the math series.

"I'm very excited about the new program," elementary principal Chad Stover said.

Stover said he has trimmed his budget for general supplies to help fund the new math curriculum. The district also borrowed money from its Study Island program.

Approximately $22,500 of the program's cost is not definitively funded at this time, but that amount will not make or break the budget, Lipella said.

The school district will pay for the curriculum in two installments at a lower shipping cost, Crider said.

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