State allocating more money for textbooks, digital resources

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- After years of cuts, it looks like public schools could be getting more money for textbooks.

The increased funding is part of the House education budget that was released Thursday.

According to the proposal, public schools would get an additional $50 million to support textbooks and digital resources over the next two years.

School officials in the Piedmont Triad say the funding is much needed.

“This year, we have gotten a little over a million dollars in textbook funding. That's $14 per student. The average cost of a textbook is between $65-70, so obviously we don't have funding to buy each student one textbook in one subject,” said Guilford County Schools Chief Financial Officer Angie Henry during a press conference Wednesday.

Although the $50 million increase is a step in the right direction, Ann Petitjean, with the Forsyth County Association of Educators, says it still won’t bring public schools back to pre-recession funding levels for textbooks.

“I have to say I'm happy that the General Assembly is thinking about education in a positive way and is saying we understand there's a problem here, but I also think it's an indication we still aren't thought of as an important part of North Carolina,” said Petitjean. “I'm hoping this is just a first step. Maybe as we go along in the budget process, things will change and we'll get a little more money to do what we need to do.”

The textbooks are just one part of the state education budget. The House budget for public schools adds up to more than $8 billion in spending.