Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen has unveiled a 3-bill package boosting the state’s financial investment in education and reducing school reliance on property taxes.
LB 583 increases state aid nearly $113-million dollars by allocating $1,500 a year for every K-12 district for every enrolled student without cutting the state’s equalization funding to schools. No district will receive less state aid because of the new program.
LB 583 also puts into law that 80% of special education costs will be paid by a combination of state and federal funds, which will increase state funding for special education by nearly $160-million dollars to a total of $410-million.
LB 589 puts an annual cap of 3% on the increase of each school district’s property tax revenue, but it can be overridden by a 75% vote of the school board or by 60% of the registered voters in an election.
The final measure creates the Education Future Fund with a starting balance of a billion dollars in state general funds in the coming biennium and the addition of $250-million each year after that.
The fund would provide money for the $1,500 per pupil and 80% special education provisions of LB 583, resulting in what Pillen calls “dollar-for- dollar property tax relief.
The Education Future Fund would also make grants to help retain licensed teachers, further career and technical training opportunities for K-12 students, and increase mentoring opportunities for K-12 students.
Pillen said “we must and we will invest in every Nebraska kid so that the education they receive is the highest quality, no matter where they live in our state.”
He called the bills the result of “great teamwork” from stakeholders across Nebraska that will “ensure future generations of students are on solid footing” while making funding more uniform for all districts and providing long overdue property tax relief..