Textbook help used to assess poverty

The way Indiana tracks the number of students who are living in poverty is changing in an effort to make sure the data is accurate.

The new tracking method isn’t expected to change the state’s count of how many families live in poverty, which currently ranges from 19 to 63 percent in local school districts, but it would allow state officials to check the numbers.

Indiana lawmakers want to be sure they’re accurately tracking the number of students in poverty across the state, which is why they will start using their own numbers to count those students beginning in 2014.

As part of the state’s budget, legislators approved using Indiana’s textbook assistance program to track the number of Indiana students in poverty at the start of the 2014-15 school year. Indiana’s textbook assistance program covers the cost of textbooks, which can run between $25 and several hundred dollars, for elementary, middle and high school students from families who fall within 185 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four, that means their income can’t exceed $38,202.


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