Textbook Loan Program

  • Textbook Loan Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How can I be sure all my books were approved and ordered?
    Once we receive your book order, the Book Depository staff initiates the following procedures:

    1. The Book Depository staff checks the ISBN number of each book to make sure the book is registered and relevant, following state and local curriculum. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number for more information on ISBN numbers)
    2. The Book Depository staff examines the list of students; Student Identification numbers that you submit to the Office of Funded Programs and the addresses they reside. (Only students who reside in the district can participate in the Textbook Loan Program. All students in a school, regardless of district or residency, are calculated in the Library Loan and Computer Software Programs.)
    3. The Book Depository staff examines each grade count of students. You are limited in the amount of books you can order by the amount of students attending that grade or course. The law also states that schools must use their subject area textbooks for 5 years before changing the textbook or ordering new ones. Schools may, however, order some additional textbooks if there is an increase in the number of students who will be using these textbooks.
    4. Your school will be notified via email as soon as possible of any problems or necessary revisions.

    Why can’t I order from the vendors I want, even though the books may cost more, or even though the books may cost less?
    As per NYSED’s guidance to districts and nonpublic schools, public school districts are the fiscal agents for the Textbook and Library Loan program. Funds are reimbursed to the district based on school enrollment numbers. Districts are charged with the responsibility to make fiscally sound decisions regarding purchasing of books in order to better ensure equity across all schools and for all students. The Book Depository can frequently acquire books at discounted rates based on factors such as bulk ordering, agreements with vendors, and state contracts.

    How can I be sure the boxes of books I pick up contain all the books I ordered if I can’t examine the contents before leaving the Book Depository?
    The Book Depository staff works laboriously to ensure all items you ordered are accounted for. A label will come with your box informing you of its contents.

    How much time is there between when I submit my book order and the time the orders are placed with the vendors?
    Correct orders are processed immediately. The time it takes for the orders to be placed with vendors is dependent on the amount of corrections to be made. Upon receiving an order, our staff must ensure all information on each order sheet is correct. (ISBN’s, student grade counts, students names and addresses, student ID’s, School Textbook Inventory, proper allocation of funds, etc…) However, delay in submitting an order results in a delay in placing your orders with vendors.

    Can I order textbooks that come with web links or CDs/DVDs with additional content?
    Yes, additional content that comes free with any textbook is permitted.

    Why are the deadlines so early?
    Deadlines are established in order to ensure a fluid, easy going process for our offices, the vendors and every school. Please understand, this process is one that requires time, patience and perseverance. We must follow the same steps for each and every school we service. These steps include:

    1. Review book order and notify school of any corrections
    2. Make all necessary corrections
    3. Negotiate prices with publishers/vendors
    4. Enter book order to Textbook Program
    5. Allow a period of time for vendor processing/shipping and our receiving. (We are aware of the dates at which school starts each year, we do our best to meet those deadlines and provide every school with their requested items.)

    Why can I not order books with religious content?
    New York State Textbook Law (New York Education Law § 701: Power to designate text-books; purchase and loan of text-books; purchase of supplies) prohibits school districts from purchasing and loaning textbooks with religious content. Schools must spend time reviewing books to check for religious education content before ordering the books.

    Why can’t you place my orders before July 1?
    The New York State fiscal calendar starts on July 1st every year. Until then, there are no funds to use to purchase any books for the upcoming year. Nevertheless, the Book Depository staff begins processing your textbook orders prior to July 1st in order to expedite book purchases once the budget is in place. It is only after July 1st that the order can be sent to the publisher or vendor. Through our new procedures all schools will receive an email – automatically generated by the Book Depository’s computerized purchasing program – that confirms your order, or part of your order, has been placed.

    Why can’t I order teachers edition, review books, etc.
    New York State Textbook Law lists criteria for textbooks and materials that permit their purchase.
    Examples of materials that DO NOT satisfy the definition of textbooks under the Textbook Loan Program and may not be claimed for Textbook aid are:

    • Reference materials such as encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases and general or special dictionaries, except that dictionaries individually assigned to all pupils in a particular class or program as a textbook substitute are considered as textbooks.
    • Supplementary textbooks, novels, fiction, magazines, newspapers, except as provided above, and audiovisual materials normally housed in the school library or instructional materials center for short-term use by pupils.
    • Tests and testing materials
    • Teacher’s editions of textbooks
    • Review books
    • Materials in kit form
    • Books or materials advocating or supporting a religious belief
    • Internet on-line services

    Why can’t books be delivered directly to my school?
    Our office is responsible for all orders and their contents. We check the orders to ensure that an order is complete, and that the books are in compliance with New York State Textbook Law. Our process includes the following steps:

    1. Once the books are received by the Book Depository, we count the books to make sure the number of books equals the number ordered.
    2. We examine the contents of each box to ensure that no items are damaged.
    3. We review all books in order to ensure that they are in compliance with New York State Textbook Law.
    4. We stamp all appropriate textbooks that we receive to identify them as property of the East Ramapo Central School District. (We do not stamp consumable books such as workbooks.)
    5. We then reseal the box with its appropriate content and place the boxes in a specific location at the Book Depository for pick up by the school. The school’s name is written on the box. Most publishers and vendors also adhere a list of contents to the box.

    You are communicating a lot through email lately. What if I don’t have an email address?
    The Book Depository has adopted procedures that rely heavily on email correspondence. All schools must have an email address. The Office of Funded Programs requests schools to provide a primary email address and an alternative email address to ensure communications are received. Without an email address schools will not receive important notifications, or be able to submit required information, or participate in ongoing communication.

    How soon can I expect my books after I submit my order?
    Many months in the school year and summer are very busy for school staff, students, district staff, and even publishers and vendors. Vendors may take up to 15 days to process our purchase orders. Processing does not include the time it takes to ship the items. Each vendor has its own way of operating: some send the materials piece by piece while other vendors wait to send us a completed order. Over the years we have developed productive working relationships with a number of publishers and vendors – relationships that sometimes result in expedited delivery and even in some cases discounted prices.

    How can I know how much funds I have remaining?
    The Book Depository and the Office of Funded Programs will institute a process for maintaining up-to-date records of allocations and expenses for each school. Please email us to inquire about your remaining funds. Remember that funds must be expended before the deadlines. Funds will not be available after the deadlines because ERCSD is required to close its accounting records well in advance of the end of the fiscal year.

    Why can’t I speak to the publishers and vendors about my order?
    ERCSD is responsible for its Purchase Orders and for all fiscal matters. The district has well experienced staff that handles the processing and payments. There is a process we must adhere to and multiple steps we must follow for modifying orders. Our district accounting procedures prohibit us from adding to an existing Purchase Order. Any additions must be done through a separate book order and Purchase Order. In addition, with our close working relationship with the vendors and publishers we can obtain information on your order to answer questions you have. It has been our experience that some vendors have tried to change orders based on a school’s contact and caused both significant delays in delivery of the books and significant accounting complications for themselves and for us. For these reasons we strongly request that schools email us their inquiries rather than contact the vendors themselves.

    Why does it take so long for my books to arrive?
    Please refer to the response to question: “How soon can I expect my books after I submit myorder?”

    Why do the books I want to order have to have an ISBN number?
    New York State Law requires a correct 13 digit ISBN in order to be purchased by a school district. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number for more information on ISBN numbers). If a school is interested in purchasing a book that does not have a 13-digit ISBN number, the school should consider purchasing the book through means other than the Textbook (or Library) Loan Program.

    Why can’t Funded Programs provide us with a list of approved books?
    Thousands of new books are published each year; there are far too many books to review.Rather than provide this list, the Book Depository has drawn up a list of books that have been disapproved in the past, mostly for having religious educational content. Please note that It is the responsibility of the schools to ensure that the books they order through the Textbook (and Library) Program have correct ISBN numbers and meet the criteria of approvable books outlined in the Textbook Law, especially regarding religious content.