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Forsyth school board OKs contract for digital textbooks

FORSYTH COUNTY — Some classes in Forsyth County public schools will be without physical textbooks next year.

During its meeting Thursday night, the Board of Education approved a contract to buy digital textbooks from Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt for biology and algebra 1.

Students in all grades will have access to the online textbooks, which cost the school system about $1 million and will be paid in two transactions by the end of August.

Superintendent Jeff Bearden said he pushed for a one-year contract instead of multiple years to hold the company accountable and ensure good customer service.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a capital outlay contract for fiscal year 2017. The contract applied for about $24 million in state funding for Denmark High School, which is slated to open in fall 2018.

Local funding required is expected to be $4.7 million, and the school system will earn an additional $7.9 million that year if approved at the full funding level next spring.

The vote passed 4-1, with District 2 board member Kristin Morrissey opposed because she said she wanted the school system to apply for a larger school.

As proposed in the contract, the high school will be built for a capacity of 2,100 students in 109 classroom units.

The school is projected to welcome between 1,500 and 1,600 students its first year before jumping to 1,800 its second year, when rezoned students can no longer stay at their former schools.