As we continue to work toward providing the best possible education for all students in our state, I want to highlight the importance of Senator Sanders’ LB 583, which proposes increased state aid for K-12 public school students and additional funding for private benefits. education.
Many schools, particularly in rural areas, do not receive adequate funding and resources; Nebraska provides less money to fund a student who sits in a classroom in Pawnee than if he sits in a classroom in Papillion. EOSA, the primary state funding mechanism for schools, is tilted heavily in favor of the twenty largest school districts in Nebraska. Nebraska’s three largest school districts—Omaha, Lincoln, and Millard—receive hundreds of millions of dollars each, accounting for more than 50% of TEEOSA’s funding. The next 17 largest school districts, when combined with Omaha, Lincoln, and Millard, account for more than 75% of state funding through TEEOSA. On the other hand, more than 180 rural school districts do not receive a single penny of government funding through TEEOSA. Rural areas are left dependent almost entirely on property taxpayers to keep the lights on and the doors open.
LB 583 aims to help with this by providing much needed support to rural schools in Nebraska. Rural schools often face unique challenges, including limited resources and a shortage of teachers, which can make it difficult for them to provide a quality education for their students. However, by allocating $1,500 annually to each student, LB 583 can provide additional funding and resources that can be especially beneficial to rural schools. In short, no matter how small a public school is, at least $1,500 per student through the foundation’s assistance will be factored into the school’s financing formula.
This bill includes a provision that 80% of private education funding would be covered by a mix of federal and state funding, with the state portion being approximately $160 million. Unlike the first part of the invoice, this component will work outside of the current formula. It is critical that private education be appropriately funded.
Overall, LB 583 is a critical step toward providing better educational opportunities for all students in our state, including students in rural schools. I am committed to ensuring that every student receives a quality education, and I believe this bill is an important part of that effort.
I look forward to continuing to discuss these issues in the coming weeks on the legislature floor. As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow my Facebook and Twitter pages, both titled “Senator Julie Slama,” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; Phone: 402-471-2733; Email: [email protected].