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DeBoer: Time to take long-term look at changing public school funding

DeBoer: Time to take long-term look at changing public school funding

Nebraska State Senator Wendy DeBoer says it’s time for a long-term look at how to overhaul the state’s K-12 education funding formula to ensure equitable educational opportunities across the state.

The Bennington lawmaker testified Tuesday before the Legislature’s Education Committee on LB 679, her bill that would create a School Financing Review Commission to examine the current system and alternatives to the heavy reliance on property taxes for funding.

DeBoer told the committee the current TEEOSA school funding formula is a solution tailored to problems of the 1980’s. “Let’s task this commission with starting from the ground up, reinventing the wheel, building the boat from scratch,” said DeBoer. “Let’s develop a new, long-term strategy for education finance in Nebraska, recognizing the exigencies of the 21st century; the demographic changes, the technological changes and the financial reality, not the finances we aspire to.”

DeBoer says part of the reason the commission is needed is that term limits have eliminated the institutional memory from the Legislature, leaving current lawmakers with little knowledge of how and why the current system was created.

The Commission would be required to submit a report with preliminary findings and recommendations by 2020, and continue until 2028 to report on progress toward the goals established by the Legislature.

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