© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tampa Bay school districts are waiting for publishers and state to work out textbook issues

Library bookshelves on either side of an aisle
Victoria Crosdale
/
WUSF Public Media
Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, and Sarasota school districts are all waiting on publishers to finish the appeals process with the state before they order math textbooks for the coming school year.

Districts across Tampa Bay are waiting for publishers to navigate the appeals process so they can place book orders as soon as possible.

There are just weeks left in the school year, but some districts are still waiting to order the rest of their materials for next year.

Last month, Florida education officials rejected 54 of 132 math textbook submitted for review, saying they included prohibited topics or didn't meet standards.

Districts across Tampa Bay are waiting for publishers to navigate the appeals process so they can place book orders as soon as possible.

Steve Hegarty is the spokesman for Pasco County Schools. He says the district only had one selection — 7th grade basic math — not approved by the state, but the materials' current status remains unclear.

The district would typically order materials around this time, he adds, so this is the only roadblock.

"We're hoping that this all gets straightened out pretty soon,” he said. “It's all been somewhat confusing thus far."

Hegarty said officials expect the issue to be resolved quickly, but if not, the district will consider ordering different books, or other options.

READ MORE: Florida rejected dozens of math textbooks. Now some districts may need to shift plans

The Florida Department of Education released more information last week as to why it rejected 41% of the math textbooks that school districts proposed using in the coming school year.

A number of the more than 70 people who reviewed the books reportedly said the books contained "prohibited topics" like critical race theory or other material they objected to.

But that's apparently not the case with the book in question in Pasco County.

"We did some digging and found out that it was not because of any objectionable content, you know, the stuff that has been the controversy of late,” Hegarty said. “It was more a question of aligning with the other textbooks that led up to it, so the question of alignment, rather than the offensive or controversial content."

Hagerty added that the district is confident that the situation will soon be resolved.

Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, and Sarasota are also waiting on publishers to finish the appeals process with the state.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.