Textbook Rental Collections:
Presented by Weston Young
Indianapolis Public Schools saw more than $550,000 in unpaid textbook rental fees for the 2016-17 School Year. The administration approved the implementation of a collections process for unpaid fees. The revenue collected will redirect general fund textbook expenditures to other academic purposes.
ACTION: Passed 7-0
What Audiences Need to Know:
- The collection of outstanding textbook fees will enhance the education process by:
- Generating funds necessary to cash flow the 2016-17 math textbook adoption financing
- Unlocking General Fund dollars to support more school-based decision making
- Replenishing textbook funds to support future textbook adoptions
- Providing educational resources to students
- Shifting to a collections process will free up valuable district resources
- Statewide Credit Association (SCA) provides collection services for seven Marion County districts and reports a 78-92% recovery rate
- SCA will pursue Phase 1 collection efforts to include three letters to IPS families to collect unpaid 2016-17 textbook rental fees
- The Phase 1 effort will produce an estimated benefit of $275,000-$425,000
- Families who qualify for Education Benefits Assistance don’t pay textbook rental fees
- Families can apply for textbook assistance through their school office
- Families who are approved for assistance are forgiven delinquent fees
- Filling out the assistance forms helps the district get reimbursed from the state
- School commissioners and administrators shared sentiments about the plan
- Commissioner President Mary Ann Sullivan acknowledged it’s not pleasant to think about collecting these fees knowing the burden it can create for families. She urged the district to continue lobby state lawmakers for more textbook funding.
- Commissioner Diane Arnold emphasized that this agreement is to collect delinquent fees from the 2016-17 school year only. To extend the plan beyond that would require further approval from the board.
- Commissioner Dorene Hoops wants to insure communication with parents is clear about when fees are due and the importance of filling out the paperwork for textbook fee assistance.
- Commissioner Kelly Bentley asked for clear point people at each school to help with proper communication with families.
- IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee expressed understanding that fees will get paid when families can pay them.
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