“Nebraska has one of the strongest public school systems in America, let’s keep it that way”

The recent passage of LB 753 has created a serious threat to education across the state of Nebraska.  LB 753 allows Nebraska citizens who owe taxes to the state to deposit their tax liability into a fund that will be distributed to private schools.   LB 753 is bad policy for both Richardson County Public Schools and our communities.  It is a solution in search of a problem as charitable donations can already be given to private schools.  School choice already exists!

This bill would allow tax money to be siphoned off from Richardson County Public Schools and given to private schools.  If a school is going to accept public money, then it should be accountable to a public board.   The lack of oversight of taxpayer money should be concerning to tax paying citizens.

Legally all public schools must follow Rule 10.   Rule 10 sets the requirements for what courses need to be taught along with the certification of teachers within a school.  Private schools don’t have to meet the same accountability standards as public schools, though many private schools do choose to follow this rule by choice, not mandate.  Would you be okay with giving taxpayer money to private contractors who would replace our police with none of the oversight and regulation that law enforcement has in place?  Essentially, that is what this bill does.  This bill also does not say what kind of private school can be established.  If the Church of Tall Trees wanted to start a school, they could get access to your tax dollars to fund attendance.  So which churches or private entities get access to your tax dollars?  Who decides? The way the bill is written any of them could.  

State wide, rural area schools would get pennies on the dollar while the metro areas would reap the rewards of this bill.  Additionally, mega rich funders in Omaha and Lincoln get another way to dodge their tax liability.  Once again, rural Nebraska loses to the rich who reside in the cities.   

There is another problem for existing private schools.  Existing private schools are going to get lumped in with a whole new group of schools that may not share the same values but will be competing for the same resources.  The bigger you are, the better you will do in this scenario.  

Finally, this bill is bad for our community.  Let’s say you are doing your 2023 taxes.  You owe the state of Nebraska $100,000.  Before LB 753 you simply wrote a check to the state for that amount and it went on to fund roads, bridges, schools (that received state aid), mental health, first responders, etc.  With the passage of LB 753 you can simply send up to $100,000 of your tax liability to the private school fund.  As a result, not only could local schools not receive funding, but your local roads, bridges, mental health, and first responders could receive decreased funding as well.  However, the legal obligation of all public schools to educate all children still remains.

The beauty of Nebraska is that we have a unicameral system.  When our legislators pass laws that are not in the best interest of the people, we can file a petition and vote on the law to either keep or repeal it.  We, the educators of Richardson County, are asking that you sign a petition to put this law on the ballot.  If this bill is really the will of the people of Nebraska, then they will vote to keep this law.  By signing the petition, you are only asking that the people are given a vote.  If you want to sign the petition, simply ask a teacher and they can get you connected with a petition.  We will also be hosting a drive through petition signing on Harlan Street in the coming days.  Simply drive through and sign.   

Nebraska has one of the strongest public school systems in America.  Let’s keep it that way by funding our public schools like any other public institution.   

This article represents the views of 

Falls City Education Association and HTRS Education Association and not the views of the respective districts. 

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