As part of the 2023 biennial budget, the State of Indiana has set aside $160 million to cover textbook fees for K-12 students throughout the state. Indiana now joins the 42 other states that does not require parents to foot the bill for their childrens’ textbooks. Free textbooks is a long-time House Democratic policy agenda item. State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary), ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, offered the following statement:
“As we head into another school year, I’m very glad to see Hoosier parents not be burdened with the costs of the textbooks their children need to be successful in the classroom. While there is much more that needs to be done in the General Assembly to support teachers, students and public schools, this is a step in the right direction. Indiana has finally joined the majority of states providing free textbooks for students, and this is simply a common-sense approach. From tuition to school supplies to non-academic responsibilities, too many Hoosier families are struggling to make ends meet. Ultimately, this is a tax cut for the middle class.
“This free textbook policy, which our caucus has been calling for for years now, is a great way to provide Hoosiers with relief. While I will remain vigilant to ensure that this is sufficient funding for schools to cover the cost of textbooks for their students, I am glad this finally got across the finish line for Hoosier kids and parents.”