In its budget proposal submitted this week, the Indiana Department of Education requested a 70 million dollar increase to the state’s textbook reimbursement fund.
Currently, Indiana is one of eight states to charge families for the cost of textbook rentals, and state superintendent Glenda Ritz says the state should pay for it.
Noel Koontz is an English teacher at the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship in Bloomington. He says the cost of renting textbooks each year is often hundreds of dollars per student, which is a financial strain on most families.
“It sort of becomes a burden on more working class people to be able to pay for these things when they are getting hit with a bill for hundreds and hundreds of dollars for textbook that may or may not be utilized in the same way,” Koontz says.
Indiana Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman says the legislature is in a good place to support public education.
“We are sitting on a two billion dollar surplus right now, the state,” Altman says.” And we think that continuing to invest in public education is an incredibly worthwhile and necessary investment to make sure that our state continuous to progress.”
Funds included in the textbook reimbursement fund apply to traditional textbooks as well as electronic books and digital learning tools. The budget request will be discussed during the 2015 legislative session which begins in January.