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4/27/2003

Statesí budget woes worrying school textbook publishers

The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas ó A major headache is brewing for the nationís textbook industry: If trend-setting Texas slashes education spending as planned, it could affect which books end up in public schools across the country.

State budget woes are making textbook publishers nervous. Plans to buy new books in Kansas and Oregon schools have been shelved and states have turned to leasing books.

But budget cutting in Texas, California and Florida is a particularly big deal: The three states account for more than 30 percent of the nationís $4 billion public school book market.

If the budget cuts go through in Texas, which is facing a $9.9 billion shortfall, hundreds of thousands of new books already ordered and printed would collect dust for two years, and students would keep using tattered, outdated texts.

Many Texas history books used by seventh-graders show Democrats Ann Richards and Dan Morales as Texas governor and attorney general, respectively. The books were set to be replaced with new books updated to reflect the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Texasí new GOP leadership.

The Texas House has passed a bill with $309 million in book cuts, and the Senate budget would slash $200 million.