INDIANAPOLIS — This school year, Indiana parents no longer have to pay out of pocket for their child's textbook fees.
It's a move state legislative leaders passed during the 2023 budget, adding $160 million for curricular materials, including things like iPads and Chromebooks.
"We're watching this very closely," IPS superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson said.
So far, there hasn't been a separate allocation for curriculum materials. That means school districts would foot the bill.
"We are similar to districts who are certainly excited and supportive of this burden not being passed on to families," Johnson said.
It's a relief for many families, but the new law could create another burden in many districts, like IPS.
"We've adopted new curriculum in a number of areas in the past three years, and that comes at a pretty substantial cost," Johnson said.
Indiana was one of seven states that hadn't covered textbook fees.
Johnson said if there is a shortfall and schools have to find new ways to cover the gap, she hopes state leaders will be open to changes.
"I don't think it's anyone's intent that districts continue to experience shortfall and have to figure out another way to cover this gap. We think we'll be well-positioned and needing to be positioned to give that feedback to the state, so that if there are adjustments that need to be made, they can be made," Johnson said.
School districts have to wait until December to receive a lump sum payment to go toward costs.