INDIANAPOLIS - Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz says she would like to see the state cover the costs of textbook rentals.
Ritz included the request in her proposed schools budget she submitted to the State Budget Agency on Thursday. The Indiana Department of Education expects it would cost $109 million to cover textbooks, $70 million more than is currently allocated.
Ritz is also asking for a 3 percent increase in education spending for grades K-12. Education funding accounts for the majority of spending each year -- well above $6 billion -- but most "passes through" the state to local school districts.
Indiana is one of eight states to charge families for textbook costs, and costs have increased in most districts in recent years due to property tax caps in 2008 and the recession. Textbook fees for grades K-12 often start around $100 per student and can range upward from there.
"By funding these at the state level, we can guarantee that all districts have equitable resources for texts while also giving parents a much needed financial break," Ritz said in a statement.
Gov. Mike Pence, who typically favors tax cuts and decreased spending, is set to deliver a budget proposal to the General Assembly in January.
Republican leaders say they strived to protect education from the deep cuts some other agencies faced during the recession, though Democrats point out schools lost $300 million at the time.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported last month that some textbook fees may be on the decline as more schools move to using new technology, such as computer tablets.
4th suspect in Richmond Hill blast faces court
The newest suspect in a deadly 2012 blast faced his first court appearance Friday.
Car overturns in crash on northwest side of city
A serious crash was drawing a strong emergency presence to a northwest-side intersection Friday morning.
Police look for 2nd man after chase from Carmel
Officers were looking for a man on the north side of the city early Friday after he and another led two cities' police departments on a chase…
ISU library adds 15th-century dictionary
The newest addition to Indiana State University's library is a 520-year-old dictionary that includes some unexpected surprises in its pages.
Panel OKs bill pushig ethnic studies in schools
Elementary and high schools across Indiana would be required to teach ethnic studies classes under a bill approved by a state Senate committee.
StormTeam 6 Alert: Preparing for weekend snow
It's a StormTeam 6 Alert Day as Hoosiers brace for widespread weekend snow.