Should the State Cover the Cost of Textbook Rental in Indiana?
The debate about textbook rental fees in Indiana schools has been raging for years with good arguments on both sides. According to the State Constitution of 1816, public education is to be provided free of charge, which makes you wonder about the policy of parents paying huge fees for the use of textbooks. State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz says she would like to relieve parents of textbook rental fees and pass that cost along to the State, asking for a 70-million dollar increase to the State's textbook reimbursement fund.
The problem for parents is the fact that textbook fees can run in the hundreds of dollars per student, which in today's economy is a struggle for a lot of families, especially those with multiple school-aged children. Indiana is one of only eight states that charge for textbooks, clearly not in the majority.
It will be very interesting to see what happens when Gov. Mike Pence submits his budget proposal in January. Some parents are fine with paying the fees, calling it an investment in their child's education, while others say it is contrary to what constitutes 'public education'. When you add the cost of school supplies on top of the textbook fee, you are talking a pretty good chunk of change. What do you think?