It doesn’t take a serious mathematician to know that textbooks are expensive.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Anne Kellerman, Tech Solutions Engineer at Blackbaud, via Zoom and learning about what matters to her as an educator and also as an advisor to schools about Blackbaud products.
Anne was the Upper School Head at the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland in Baltimore as well as their IT Director for many years.
Anne typically spent the first week after school with the librarian, sorting and inventorying returned textbooks and working with the billing office to track down the ones not returned. After that came assessing damage and which books really were too dated to use the following year. “Managing all that, administrating all that was very time consuming,” she shared.
“It was a very difficult budget to manage because it was so unpredictable. Because we did not know how many students would not turn them in, or how many books would just physically be in their last year and need to be retired. And it was frequently a challenge, it was a guessing game much of the time.”
The going rate for a high school level textbooks is any where between $80 and $150 or more for AP/IB level materials. “It doesn’t take a serious mathematician to figure out if you can only use that book for five years, it’ll cost you roughly probably $25 per textbook per year. And if you multiply that by 5 of 6 classes per child, we’re into the $120-$150 range per child,” Anne said. That’s more than most budgets can handle.
Anne said, “It was a very difficult budget to manage because it was so unpredictable. Because we did not know how many students would not turn them in, or how many books would just physically be in their last year and need to be retired. And it was frequently a challenge, it was a guessing game much of the time.”
Even managing the budget was challenging, because textbook prices don’t stay the same price from year to year – and sometimes teachers wanted to select a new textbook better suited to their classes, but they often had to wait to reuse the old one until purchasing new was cost-effective.
Enrollment – particularly by class – is also an issue. Anne appreciates that TextbookHub digital materials give schools the flexibility not to have to purchase an entire textbook for a student who switches sessions after school starts, opting for a more advanced session or a course that moves at a different pace.
With the deep integration with Blackbaud, she noted that schools “deliver the textbooks out directly through the class pages. If students happen to move from one section to another that’s using a different textbook – no need to collect that book and to reinventory it. All of that is happening of course through your system fluidly.”
Thank you, Anne, for sharing your expertise in tech and education with us!
Register for the 2020 Blackbaud K–12 Virtual User Conference, July 8-9. FREE for teachers, with sessions, speakers and insights on how schools are staying flexible for on campus, remote and hybrid approaches for fall.