INDIANAPOLIS – Some school officials say Indiana’s next two-year budget does not provide enough funding to cover all textbook and curriculum costs for students in public and charter K-12 schools.
Ending those fees for families was a big priority this session for Gov. Eric Holcomb and some state lawmakers.
“It’s the unintended consequences that we have to battle with at public schools,” said Derek Arrowood, superintendent of the Hamilton Heights School Corporation.
Arrowood said he supports the Statehouse’s mission but believes the funding that will be provided won’t cover everything.
“Do I think $150 is enough for third grade? Probably,” Arrowood said. “Do I think it’s enough for kids that are taking AP classes at the high school? Definitely not.”
Indiana’s new state budget allocates $160 million per year for those expenses. The legislation also bans public and charter schools from charging curriculum fees.
“We will not diminish learning because of this lack of textbook funding, but we’re going to have to be creative to be able to do that,” Arrowood said.
Greenfield-Central’s superintendent Harold Olin agrees the state funding isn’t enough and echoed the need for creativity.
“We’re going to have to be creative in finding ways to cover that full cost because there are things beyond the textbooks that we’re doing to add to that educational experience,” Olin said. “Lab fees, for instance.”
“We fully anticipated a lot of questions,” Holcomb said Wednesday when asked about those concerns.
The Indiana Department of Education will provide more guidance to school districts on the policy before it takes effect, he added.
“There are some things that your son or daughter may want to participate in that’s not necessary or a requirement, and so those things will have to be sifted through,” Holcomb said.
The Indiana Department of Education did not respond to our requests for comment.