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A photo of a Muncie Community Schools teacher going over a presentation

Source: (PHOTO: Muncie Community Schools)

INDIANAPOLIS — This past legislative session state lawmakers allocated $160 million to cover the cost of textbooks for students so Hoosier parents don’t have to pay for them.

Without the funding, parents had been on the hook for their child’s textbooks, which could run a typical Hoosier family about $160 a year. That price goes up as students enter high school. The bill was welcome news for parents like Susan Sargeant who lives in Indianapolis.

“What I like about the bill is it puts the focus back on education. For the parents, we all want quality education,” she said to WISH-TV. “It’s always that question when you’re in public school and it’s supposed to be free. ‘What exactly are my tax dollars going towards?’ The fact that they’ve taken those fees away is great. It’s great for the parents.”

Marylin Shank with the Indiana Coalition for Public Education had been among those advocating for the state to cover textbook costs for years. Now that it’s finally a reality in Indiana she said it’s a step in the right direction, but there is some concern over whether or not the $160 million will be enough.

“If that runs short, a school will probably have to take money out of operating funds and out of salaries, and you don’t want to see that happen,” Shank said.

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education said that they will not be sure if the $160 million will be enough until they can collect data from schools a little later into the school year.