Bill Summary, LB 1001 (1992)
LB 1001 contained four modifications to the school finance formula. One of the changes related to the Indian Land factor, which was a part of the original LB 1059 (1990). Prior to LB 1001, the Indian Land factor provided that districts where more than 75% of the students enrolled were residents on Indian land, the tiered cost per student for each grade level would be increased by a factor of 25%. The provision in LB 1001 harmonized state law with federal regulations to require that the tiered cost per student, for each grade level would be increased by a factor “equal to the result of multiplying the ratio of average daily attendance of students who reside on Indian land to the total average daily attendance of the district” multiplied by 25%. The change in law was intended to increase, slightly, the spending authority and the state aid received by qualified districts.
Another provision LB 1001 changed several items under the other actual receipts section of the state aid formula. These receipts were to be considered a part of a district’s formula resources for purposes of calculating state aid. The bill changed the “miscellaneous receipts” subsection to exclude revenues from what is commonly called the textbook loan program. Under this program, public schools were obliged, if possible, to loan textbooks to children enrolled in private schools upon individual request. The bill also added a new accountable receipt for pre-school “Part H” special education funds from the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 but only to the extent of the amount the district would have otherwise received under the Nebraska Special Education Act.
The third modification to the school finance formula concerned the annual requirement for school districts to submit budget documents to the State Auditor or make corrections of errors in such documents in a timely fashion. The existing law required the Commissioner of Education to withhold state aid to such districts failing to comply with this provision. The existing law also required the commissioner to notify the county superintendent who must then direct the county treasurer to withhold all school money belonging to the school district until the matter is resolved. LB 1001 clarified perhaps what was taken for granted, and that was for the county treasurer to actually obey the request and withhold the money. The bill required the county treasurer to obey the request of the county superintendent and withhold the funds until told otherwise.
The fourth change to the school finance formula concerned the dates by which Class I districts and all other classes of districts must submit annual financial reports to the respective county superintendent and the Commissioner of Education. Class I districts were to submit such reports by October 15th of each year (changed from the previous October 1st date) and all other districts were to submit reports by November 1st of each year. The financial reports include the amount of money received from all sources during the year and the amount of money expended by the school district during the year, among other statistics.
LB 1001 also expanded the usage of an authorized tax levy by school districts. The legislation authorized school districts to levy up to 5.2¢ per $100 valuation for purposes of accessibility barrier elimination projects and environmental hazard abatement projects. This provision would allow school districts to increase tax levies to fund the cost of accessibility barrier elimination projects if their levies were not currently at the maximum to fund environmental hazard abatement projects. The bill enabled school districts to accept state interest-free or low interest loans and allows schools to borrow money in any fund. The bill also allowed parents under the option enrollment program to appeal rejections of students made by resident school districts.