TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Florida schools may be trading in heavy textbooks for high tech tomes under a budget proposal approved by lawmakers Monday.

SB 2120 would require all Florida schools to adopt digital textbooks by the 2015-16 school year and spend at least 50 percent of their textbook budget on digital materials by that time, according to The News Service of Florida.

Pilot programs will be set up beginning next year to test the electronic textbooks.

“Everyone realizes that digital seems to be the wave of the future and in many respects, the future is now,” said Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, who helped craft the education budget.

Some Florida schools are pushing back at the approaching deadline, saying their schools were hit so hard by budget cuts, few think the proposal is within reach.

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, says he supports the initiative, but worries about keeping the schools afloat.

“The issue is always the same, which is how do you afford it?” Montford said. “We have to be careful that we don’t expect school districts to enter into a program that is not funded.”

The proposal is part of a larger educational budget bills that were both the House and Senate produced earlier in the session. The Senate opted for a more gradual phasing in of the proposal, which would gradually introduce the technology through pilot programs. The House wanted to be more aggressive, placing a 2013-14 deadline to make the switch. The two chambers eventually agreed on a compromise.

If signed into law by Governor Rick Scott, Florida would be one of the first states in the country to set up a timeline for digital textbook conversion.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed material for this report)

Comments (4)
  1. Larry says:

    Let the children learn how to read first. How will high tech toys make our children’s smarter? They will only make the state coffers more poor. That’s the stupidity of the uneducated who allegedly run our government in Tallahassee.

  2. Tacnacs Ilcd says:

    heres a good example of why this wont work: state issues 1000 ipad textbooks . school terms ends on 36 are returned. with the way kids today have all the gizmos of iphones, let them rent the books and charge them. this way the state wont come up at a loss,

  3. alejandroomi says:

    Here we go again – more taxes and children not learning how to read. Thank You Tallahassee for dumping money away and ruining our children’s future. WHAT A BUNCH OF FOOLS!

  4. MiamiMex says:

    Well, they should make a proposal to make parents responsible for their children.

    I am fine with digital textbooks, but if the child is not educated at home, a computer is not going to do it..