Why are Lawrence parents required to pay a textbook rental fee when other districts in the area do not require one? What would have to be done to change that policy?
Lawrence students are asked to pay a rental fee ranging from $17.50 in kindergarten to $35 in high school, said Bonnie Dunham, communications coordinator for Lawrence public schools.
This fee helps offset some of the cost of textbooks but not all. The district collected $220,964 last year in rental fees and spent $685,613 on textbooks, Dunham said. That includes updating texts for foreign languages, science, social studies, language arts and mathematics.
According to school board policy, students may provide their own copies of textbooks and the rental fee will be reduced accordingly. Families also may apply for a fee waiver. There were 2,252 students found eligible last year, based on need, for the waiver, Dunham said.
The school board voted last May to increase the textbook rental fee, and it would take another vote of the board to eliminate it.
"Eudora is the only area school district that we are aware of that doesn't charge textbook rental fees," Dunham said. "The districts of DeSoto, Baldwin, Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, Topeka, Shawnee Heights and Auburn-Washburn all charge textbook fees."