LINCOLN, Neb. – In order to balance how Nebraska funds schools, property taxes used to fund K-12 school districts, should be limited to 40 percent of individual school district’s general fund expenditures. That’s one of the key resolutions adopted by delegates at Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, Dec. 10.
“Our delegate body sent a clear message. They believe we must better balance how we fund schools and move away from our overreliance on property taxes that have become a major concern for Nebraskans both urban and rural. To do that, they took the position that no more than 40 percent of individual school district funds should come from property taxes, leaving the rest to come from other sources,” said Nelson.
According to Nelson, capping the amount of property tax contributions for local school funding as adopted by the delegates would bring Nebraska in line with other states in terms of how much is expected from local sources to fund schools.
“If you look at the national average, local funding sources for schools, such as property taxes, account for roughly 40 percent of school district funding. We’re much higher than the national average in Nebraska, where local contributions in the form of property taxes account for 60 percent of funding for school districts. We are clearly behind other states when it comes to recognizing that local sources like property taxes shouldn’t be the major source of school funding,” said Nelson.
Nelson said the delegates took other actions that reinforced their belief that balancing school funding is critical to maintaining quality schools in Nebraska, as the current system simply isn’t sustainable for Nebraska taxpayers.
“Again, the need is to address equity in how we fund education, it is not a question of whether or not we should have good schools. We all want a quality education for Nebraska students. Balancing the responsibility of funding education is the issue delegates addressed and they’ve set a mark for where property taxes should fit into the school funding equation and we’ll work toward that goal,” said Nelson.
Nebraska Farm Bureau held its Annual Meeting and Convention in LaVista, Dec.7-8.