EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – The issue centers around textbook – namely, how Indiana school districts will pay for the books the students need to have. Governor Eric Holcomb has thrown his weight behind a proposal that would eliminate textbook things for students.
Meanwhile, House Democrats say the state is not providing enough money to do so, and that could result in budget cuts for school districts.
“House Republicans have taken it upon themselves to pretend that they are funding free textbooks for students around the state…I and House Democrats have called for this for some time – that we reduce textbook fees and make it a free education, and we not hinder students that can’t afford these fees on textbooks,” says State Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D).
The commitment to provide free text books is a bipartisan issue – the difference being in how such a project would be funded.
Eyewitness News reach out to Republican State Representatives Wendy McNamara and Tim O’Brien about Hatfield’s assertions. Both declined to be interviewed, but Representative O’Brien issued the following statement:
“As author of legislation that would have eliminated textbook fees for parents, I feel deeply passionate about this issue. These costs can be a hurdle for many Hoosier families, especially those who are low-income. I’m hopeful the senate will move forward on the house-passed budget and do the right thing by parent.”
The $1.6 million ‘budget cut’ that could hit the EVSC would be the result of a line item not being passed in the budget used to pay for textbooks.
“When you see with the EVSC, having had their budget with only a 1% increase, in a year where we’ve seen inflation at 6-7-8-9%, it’s in fact a funding cut. It’s cut even further when you look what they’ve done with textbook fees, simply putting it on the back of those school corporations,” adds Hatfield.
Eyewitness News reached out to EVSC and did not hear back. The budget will now go to the Indiana Senate for approval.