LB 890 & 891
Chadron Public Schools shares a unique story. We are a rural district with a current enrollment of 925 kids K-12. Our district is at the $1.05 lid. Forty percent of our land is in public, state, or federal lands. Meaning not all of this land is taxable. Taxpayers are levied to the max to provide a top-notch education. Our district does receive state-aid that we are grateful for. We are a frugal district. Two of our buildings turned 100 this year. With enrollment growing, we need more teaching staff that we will be hard pressed to hire under current budgets. It is difficult to hire teachers in our part of the State. We are going to have to keep current and competitive to get educators to Chadron. Current revenue restrictions, over reliance on property taxes, and the burden of providing the necessary resources for our students and we are capped out at the $1.05 and even if we could squeeze another penny it would fall on the back of our limited tax base. LB 890 would be that lifeline for our school and for our taxpayers. LB 890 as currently written would significantly reduce our general fund levy. With this model both our school and are taxpayers benefit greatly.
(All of the below are estimates based on the latest #s from NDE models as of 1/15/22)
Current General Fund Levy $1.00
New General Fund Levy $0.64
Levy Reduction $0.36
Levy Reduction 36%
Current State Aid $4,611,004
New State Aid $6,747,479
Increase in State Aid $2,136,475
New Max General Fund Levy $0.95
Our education community and other have joined together to support this bill. It helps or holds harmless all Nebraska Schools.
I want to talk about some data points
● Nebraska currently finances over seventy percent of the costs of operating its public school system from the property tax and other local sources while nationally only forty-three percent of the costs are supported by property taxes and other local sources.
● The overreliance on property tax for or the support of the public school system has resulted in great disparities in local property tax rates.
● The overreliance on the property tax for the support of the public school system has created inequitable educational fiscal resources for students.
● Funding public schools in the state of Nebraska is no easy task. One size does not fit all when trying to fund 244 separate school districts, each with their own unique needs.
● The intention of this bill is to be simple, transparent, and equitable. There are two valuable outcomes: 1) a structurally sound and sustainable school funding model and 2) a substantial reduction in the reliance on property taxes to fund public schools. The introduced LB890 with LB891 has an estimated 50/50 split statewide between local property taxes and state funding.
Ginger Meyer, Ed.S
Superintendent, Chadron Public Schools