New school funding proposal meets opposition from Omaha, AG | Regional government

A legislative proposal to draw on half a cent of current sales tax revenue, along with state appropriations to help fund local schools, faced various opposition on Wednesday from agricultural organizations and the superintendent of public schools in Omaha.

The bill (LB891), introduced by Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha, is seen as a supplemental funding mechanism for LB890, sponsored by Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, a bill designed to increase financial support for the to K-12 Schools.

While spokespersons for a number of smaller Nebraska schools supported Lindstrom’s proposal, Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Logan told the revenue committee she was concerned the plan does not divert funding from “higher-needs districts” like Omaha schools.

It’s understandable that some school officials might be skeptical that the state would fully maintain its funding commitment, she said.

Harrisburg’s Monty Stoddard, speaking on behalf of Nebraska ranchers and a host of allied farm organizations, said they couldn’t support the bill because of a provision that would reorient the law on inducement to Nebraska Property Tax to fund property tax relief through the School Assistance Formula rather than serve as an income tax credit.

Responding to naysayers, Lindstrom said “this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario” in laying a foundation for increased state assistance to schools accompanied by increased property tax relief.

The bill “eliminates the burden of claiming the property tax credit on the (state) tax return and will provide immediate property tax relief through lower (school taxes),” a- he said in a statement of intent that accompanied the bill’s introduction.

A number of small community leaders in the state endorsed the proposal.

The committee took no immediate action on the bill.

Milford School Board Chairman Dave Welsch said the proposal had the potential “to increase state support for all schools, providing direct and transparent property tax relief”.

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