The Nebraska Legislature approved a tax-credit based school choice scholarship program on Wednesday in a measure Gov. Jim Pillen has already pledged to sign.
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, R-District 39, introduced the bill, LB 753, at the request of Gov. Jim Pillen.
If enacted, the measure will give Nebraskans a tax credit for contributions made to nonprofit organizations that grant scholarships to students to use on educational expenses, including private school tuition.
“Today is about the kids and families in Nebraska whose lives will be changed thanks to the freedom to attend a school that best fits their needs,” Linehan said. “It has been my honor and privilege to be part of this effort and it would not have been possible without the leadership and commitment of Governor Pillen, Speaker Arch, so many of my colleagues in the legislature, and hundreds of advocates and families who have been fighting to open the doors of opportunity to kids who need it most.”
Linehan has introduced similar bills for five straight years, but support for school choice has reached a high point in the last two years, leading to a 33-11 vote in favor of LB 753.
Despite growing support, Nebraska’s teachers’ union is already organizing a campaign to challenge the bill once it becomes law.
Jenni Benson, president of the Nebraska State Education Association State Education Association, has said the union will try to get a referendum on the ballot.
This, despite the fact that Nebraska is one of only two states without any form of school choice.
The latest measure will allow students from low-income families, military families or foster care, as well as students with special needs and those experiencing bullying, to apply for a scholarship to help further their education in a private school.
“Every Nebraska kid should be given the opportunity to have their educational needs met, whether they live in Omaha or Scottsbluff,” Pillen stated. “Every parent regardless of socio-economic status should have the ability to decide what is the best school to meet their child’s need.”