New Legislative Session
Dear Beatrice Public School Patrons,
The legislative session has begun and bill introduction is in week #2 and will undoubtedly progress at a harried pace.There are a plethora of issues our Unicameral will need to address from Medicaid expansion to the death penalty. It’s also a foregone conclusion that property taxes will be at the forefront of these discussions as well.
Please, don’t be fooled by the misguided narrative that school spending is to blame for the increase in property taxes.
KNOW THE FACTS:
- STATE SCHOOL FUNDING:
*The State Funding Formula, a.k.a. TEEOSA - Has only been fully funded to its complete calculation three or four times in the past 17 years leaving increased local property taxes to fill the void in all other years. At one time K-12 education was 32 percent of the state’s budget but is now 27.6 percent.
ASK: IS EDUCATION A PRIORITY IN THE EYE’S OF OUR STATE LAWMAKERS?
2. TAX SHIFT:
*The reality is our unwillingness to look for other revenue sources which puts an over-reliance on local property taxes. Property taxes have soared in the last decade because we have have failed to address the issue that our state budget is balanced solely on the backs of property owners. In reality, all that’s happened, is property owners have picked up what the state has left behind.
a. Valuations have CLIMBED an average of 5.1% in BPS Dist. #15 since 2013-14.
b. STATE AID TO Beatrice Public Schools has DECLINED an average of (- 4.68%) since
c. BPS Dist #15 Disbursements have only increased an average of .02% since 2013-14.
**This is not a coincidence, nor do public schools set valuations of land.**
3. STATE TO STATE COMPARISON:
*Nebraska Ranks 49th in the Nation in state support of public education according to the 2016
U.S. Census Bureau.
*Only four states have NO funding role in helping local school districts pay for public school
*Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and South Dakota
4. NEW REVENUE SOURCES ARE NEEDED:
In short, NO ONE, wants to pay higher property taxes. We can’t continue to allow sales and corporate exemption rates to remain hidden in grains like a sand dollar. Those opportunities and others are passing us by on the idea of “NO NEW TAXES”.
NO NEW TAXES or IDEAS is just resulting in the same ol’, same ol’, and we can’t continue to cut away at the very fiber of our future!
Inevitably there will be those individuals with an agenda to “hack and chop” at the little bit of state responsibility that is left in the state budget for PUBLIC education. I have confidence we will continue to educate these individuals on the importance of items that all children and families benefit from through NE Public Schools:
- Early Childhood Education and expanding access to working families and single parent homes.
- Student Nutrition covering reduced price or free meals for eligible students.
- Increases in Special Education Reimbursement rates (currently 48% was at 100% in early 70’s).
- Expand behavioral and mental health services for the massive amounts of students in need in today’s society.
- School Safety and Security improvements that give school districts additional flexibility to fund new security and infrastructure.
- Career Education opportunity programs across the state and provide greater state funding for schools offering career education courses or integrating career partnerships with colleges.
I encourage you to contact our District #30 State Senator, Myron Dorn, to share your thoughts and ideas with him for supporting Nebraska’s Public Schools and generating ideas for STATE REVENUE. We wish him well as he tackles huge issues impacting our public schools and our District.
Superintendent, Beatrice Public Schools