HAMMOND — The School City of Hammond will offer refunds to qualified students for technology and lab fees after district leaders say some families eligible for textbook assistance should not have been charged.
“When you have students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, they can then apply to not pay the textbook tuition,” said Monica Conrad, an attorney for the school city. “It’s been clarified … with the (Indiana Department of Education) and other sources with the State Board of Accounts and some other legal sources that that fee will not in future be assessed to anybody who is considered to be a qualified student who has applied to not have to pay the textbook tuition.”
The Hammond school board unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night that stated the district should not have charged additional fees of students who qualified in the same school year, including the current and last school year, for textbook assistance.
School board Trustee Carlotta Blake-King said the fee discrepancy was brought to district leaders’ attention by parents in the school city.
“I’m grateful to them for bringing it to our attention because I felt extremely bad,” Blake-King said. “We know who we serve. We’re serving parents that … are eligible for free lunch, so that’s it in a nutshell, and to add additional fees on to them when we didn’t have to — we didn’t research it when we should’ve researched it the first time.”