LINCOLN — A compromise on how to split state aid dollars among Nebraska school districts held through another round of legislative debate Friday.
Legislative Bill 407 advanced to the final stage of consideration without opposition and with little discussion.
State Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha offered an amendment crafted by the business managers from several of the state's largest school districts, but he said from the outset that he would withdraw the amendment after debate.
His proposal would have reduced the amount of money provided to schools with longer-than-average school years.
Krist said about one-third of the instructional time allowance under the compromise would go to one school district, Millard Public Schools.
Speaker of the Legislature Greg Adams of York opposed the amendment, saying it was brought because other large school districts wanted a piece of the pie. Among them were Omaha and Lincoln public schools.
During budget debate, Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, the Education Committee chairwoman, accused the large school districts of violating the agreement reached two weeks earlier.
Sullivan made clear she would not consider reopening the compromise.
“I cannot turn my back on the majority of school districts for the benefit of the few,” she said.
LB 407 revises the complex formula used to divide aid among the 249 public school districts. It also reins in the growth of school aid to help lawmakers balance the state budget.
Current law would require an average 7 percent increase in school aid over the two fiscal years starting July 1. The compromise holds the increase to about 5 percent over two years.
The state's largest school districts had opposed the earlier version of LB 407, arguing that it would not do enough to help districts with high property tax levies, high student needs and comparatively low per-student spending.
Also Friday, lawmakers voted to pass several bills. Among them:
» Racial profiling. LB 99, passed 46-0, would extend the gathering of traffic stop information through 2017 and gives the Crime Commission's Racial Profiling Advisory Committee a more active role in analyzing and responding to the data.
The measure also would remove limits that prevent some victims from getting money from the state Crime Victim's Compensation Fund.
» Exchange advice. LB 384, passed 47-0, would create a commission to advise federal officials about operating a health insurance exchange in Nebraska.
The exchange is being created as part of the federal health care overhaul and is to be a one-stop shop where people can compare and buy health insurance, get federal subsidies or enroll in Medicaid.
» Internship grants. LB 476, passed 46-0, would allow more students to qualify for internships subsidized by state grants.
The bill also would allow businesses to get larger grants for interns from lower income families and would direct the State Department of Economic Development to market the internships to high schools and larger colleges and universities.
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