Editorial, 3/12: Guaranteeing one aid per student could help set property taxes | Editorial

Senator Lynne Walz delivers a speech to chair the Education Committee on the first day of the 2021 legislative session on Wednesday.

JUSTIN WAN, star of the newspaper

Journal Star Editorial Board

Senator Lynne Walz is getting on the right track with a proposal to revamp the state’s educational assistance formula and, in so doing, save Nebraska taxpayers more than $ 700 million a year.

The plan, developed over four months by Senator de Fremont who chairs the Legislative Assembly’s education committee with Columbus Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz and the district finance director, would laudably do away with the bewildering TEEOSA funding formula. state which results in many districts receiving little or no direct state aid.

It would replace it with a relatively simple and easy-to-understand formula that would ensure that all school districts receive a certain amount of money for each student. These payments would equal the amount of sales tax revenue of 1 cent divided by the number of students statewide. If the plan had been in place this year, the $ 352 million in a 1 cent tax would be equivalent to a per student payment of $ 1,100.

To cover these costs, the plan would require the state to add around $ 700 million to the state aid budget for schools, bringing that amount to $ 1.7 billion. The plan does not specify where the $ 700 million would come from.

But this year, the state provided about $ 1 billion in property tax relief to taxpayers. The diversion of some of that money to help schools should provide this relief indirectly, as schools reduce their levies, as the proposal requires – or, hopefully, even more.

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