More than $60,000 in textbooks are outstanding at Alberni District Secondary School and officials are powerless to recover the money or the books.
School District 70 superintendent Cam Pinkerton confirmed the losses on Dec. 10. The missing books are specifically from ADSS, he said.
“They’re worth about $90 to $120 a piece to replace so it adds up,” Pinkerton said.“It’s a resource we expect to have back in the school.”
The problem is ongoing, ADSS principal Nora Moncur said.“Every year, tens of thousands of dollars in text books aren’t returned,” she said.
Students are issued textbooks in September, Moncur said.
The books are scanned into the school’s textbook tracking system so that the school knows which students has what books.
Ostensibly, students return textbooks at the end of the semester or at the end of the year. Those students who don’t return textbooks are issued letters requesting their return and even invoices for their replacement.
There is no academic penalty if a text is not returned. “We can’t do that. The expectation is that we get the book back or money back,” Moncur said.
New textbooks are issued in September when students come back to school. Those with outstanding books are asked to return them but are still issued new texts, Moncur said. “The most we can do is encourage texts to be brought back and to send a letter home,” Moncur said.
Calls or letters from the school prompt some parents to look for and return overdue books, Pinkerton said.
SD70 trustees are aware of the situation, Pinkerton said. “They’ve requested more information for clarity about this,” he said. “It’s worth it in the long run to collect that kind of money.”