Macaria is a single mother of five children. Thanks to scholarships, all five children enrolled in Catholic schools.
"I wanted my children to attend private schools because they have a great education and teach things like respect, discipline and morality. The future looks nice today because I can see my children attending college. I thank [generous donors] for the support that is given to us with the scholarships, because in our situation, attending a private school would be impossible - just a dream."
LB295 in the News
"LB295 would make more tax dollars available for each public school student and reduce state tax dollars spent on education, yet give lower-income parents an education choice. Win, win."
Public Pulse: Tax Credits are Better Than Vouchers
Nebraska has the opportunity to reduce its education costs yet increase per-pupil education spending. Legislative Bill 295 would do that by giving some families income tax credits for donating to private school scholarship funds. Students aided by LB 295 must come from households whose income is tied to the national school lunch program, helping only low- and middle-income families.
There are 17 states, such as Iowa, that give tax-credit scholarships (not vouchers) and save taxpayer dollars accordingly. Because students would transfer out of public schools, all local property tax dollars would remain in the school district for the remaining students.
School districts would be in the same position as when a student transfers to another public district — more dollars for the remaining students.
Currently, public school education costs on average $12,000 for each Nebraska grade school and high school student. If a student transfers out of a public school, local property taxes would not decrease; local tax dollars would be divided among fewer students.
LB 295 would make more tax dollars available for each public school student and reduce state tax dollars spent on education, yet give lower-income parents an education choice. Win, win.
Herman D. Weist
Omaha World Herald, January 3, 2018
"While we do amazing things with very little, we cannot ensure that every disadvantaged family can "select" the education best suited for their children."
LB295 Helps Disadvantaged Students
In a recent Local View ("LB 295 would hurt public schools," Nov. 15), Ms. Ann Hunter-Pirtle recognizes that parochial schools, like St. Mary's Catholic School, serve "disadvantaged students whose families select this option."
Ms. Hunter-Pirtle is correct: Our families do "select" this option. However, Ms. Hunter-Pirtle fails to recognize that many do so only because of the financial assistance provided by our school and parish. Many disadvantaged families are not so fortunate.
Parochial schools, such as St. Mary's, are supported and subsidized by the tireless efforts and very generous contributions of benefactors from all walks of life. However, funding for educational tuition is not a bottomless pit.
While we do amazing things with very little, we cannot ensure that every disadvantaged family can "select" the education best suited for their children. By providing more scholarship opportunities through LB295, Nebraska can finally begin ensuring that more disadvantaged families have the freedom to truly "select" the education that best meet their child's needs.
Nina Beck, Lincoln
Principal, St. Mary's School
Lincoln Journal Star
December 5, 2018
"Above all else, public and private schools both offer great advantages for students and even greater if they would cooperate. The state of Nebraska, parents and, most importantly, kids benefit."
LB295 promotes school quality, equality
I have always appreciated the role of public education in my life. I can recall with great detail several teachers at Southeast High School who made a lifelong impact. My appreciation of them and Lincoln Public Schools remains to this day.
What seems to have changed, however, is LPS’s somewhat vicious resistance to anything that might diminish its budget or control, even when there is sound reason to think our children would benefit. LB295 in aggregate offers a relatively small economic benefit to donors to help expand a truer version of school choice for parents and their children.
Consider that parents of students attending schools outside their home district have made large donations to public schools for many years. These very real donations actually pay the taxes to support public education while LPS is spared the expense of educating these students.
Every year, many thousands of Nebraska students attend nonpublic schools that save the public school system millions of dollars. This benefit to public schools, which has been in place for many years, would dwarf any lost revenue from LB 295.
The Journal Star recently published ACT test scores that show private schools have provided excellent, even enviable educations for their students. Therefore, private schools have provided both high quality education and directly saved the public school system millions of dollars.
Nebraskans should ask who actually benefits from keeping things the same? How many public school superintendents, administrators and others make more than $100,000 under the current system?
It’s time for LPS to set aside the politics, work cooperatively with private schools and give up their monopolistic attitude of education.
Above all else, public and private schools both offer great advantages for students and even greater if they would cooperate. The state of Nebraska, parents and, most importantly, kids benefit.
Deryl Travis Jr., Lincoln
Lincoln Journal Star
November 25, 2017
Parents have the right to choose a school for their children which correspond to their own convictions and should have true liberty in their choice of schools. When we have true educational freedom reflected in state and national policy, financial burden will not prevent families from choosing the education that best suits their child's needs.
LB295 and Why Nebraska Needs It
Every single child in Nebraska deserves to go to a school that best suits his or her needs, regardless of income. LB295: Opportunity Scholarships Act will create a state income tax credit for donations to scholarship granting organizations, i.e., nonprofits that turn nearly all their revenue into private-school scholarships for low-income students. The act allows for private, not public funds, for these scholarships. In 2017, Children's Scholarship Fund of Omaha turned away 635 applications due to lack of scholarship funds. We hope that the passing of LB295 will bring more opportunity for the future of Nebraska - our children!
Education Choice Policies
According to a 2017 EdNext poll, tax-credit scholarships are the most supported (55%), least opposed (24%) type of private school choice policy. Unlike vouchers and education savings account, tax-credit scholarships allow for private donations, not public funds, to help low-income children choose schools that are best suited for them.
Tax-credit scholarship programs exist in 18 states, including Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas (all states highlighted below). Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program is the nation’s largest, serving more than 97,000 students a year.
How does a tax credit scholarship work?
Find more education choice policy resources at EdChoice.
The nuts and bolts of LB295, and your most frequent questions answered.
Stories of children and parents finding the education best suited for them.
What you can do to help enact education freedom in Nebraska.
Read the testimony transcript from the LB295 hearing in the Revenue Committee.
An in-depth look at any questions you might have about opportunity scholarships and how they work.