CRESTVIEW — School's out, but Northwood Elementary School’s decision to cease printing yearbooks still concerns Crestview resident Andy Watts, whose son, Gus, just finished third grade.
"I think it's just wrong," he said. "I have never heard of such a thing."
Ending publication of a bound edition of classmates’ faces means the end of a sentimental pastime, he said.
"What parent doesn't want to reflect on school memories with their children," Andy said.
Former principal Jacqueline Craig — who was on the school’s leadership committee that voted down the yearbook — said that costs factored into the decision.
“Due to low volume sales, there were several years the school had to subsidize the financing of the yearbook by paying a portion of the publishing costs," she said in an email. “... It had become cost prohibitive for our school and for our families.”
Additionally, the school paid substitutes to watch classes while full-time teachers compiled yearbook material, Craig said.
Further, yearbooks might have been out of a number of Northwood households’ budgets, said the former principal, now on special assignment at Walker Elementary School.
"Unfortunately, these are tough financial times; 59 percent of Northwood’s students are on federal assistance for meals,” she said.
The committee did explore options to save the publication, Craig said.
"One option we did discuss was publishing fewer yearbooks," she said. "However, by purchasing a lesser volume, the cost went up, making the cost of the yearbook prohibitive for those who could normally afford one."
Such reasons aren’t acceptable to Watts, who said Northwood is the only local school without a yearbook. Riverside, Antioch, Bob Sikes and Walker Elementary schools all had yearbooks.
Craig said she was also disappointed that the school could not provide yearbooks but hopes the school can offer yearbooks in the future.
Watts had spoken to Craig about the issue, while said she had also spoke to one other parent about the issue, who understood the school's stance.
"If my memory serves me correct, I had no other telephone calls from parents concerning this issue," she said.
Although the school couldn’t provide a yearbook, Gus' third-grade teacher Paige Parker had.
Parker and fellow third-grade teacher Erin Adams produced a small yearbook for their classes. For $15 their students could buy a copy of a class yearbook.
Watts said he appreciated the effort.
"If it had not been for his teacher, accepting responsibility that is not hers, we wouldn't have this," he said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.