Committee on Education

Public Hearing

LB 348

February 8, 1993



Page 2


LB 348


MARSHA BABCOCK:  Thank you, Senator.  The bill that we will begin with this morning...  or this afternoon is LB 348, affectionately known as the Department of Education's technical bill.  Every year the department goes through and makes recommendations that it considers to be very technical, and will help to clarify some of the particulars or respond to some of the concerns that they have found in applying the law throughout that year.  They bring those to us in the form of these technical amendments, and this afternoon you will be hearing these amendments addressed by the members of the department who will be Polly Feis, Tim Kemper, and Dennis Pool, and they'll each be able to respond within their area of expertise.  Before you, you will find not only a copy of the amendments, but also this document labeled "The Department of Education Technical Amendment" that gives an explanation to each one of you as to what will be changed and the rationale behind each one of those changes.  Chairman, I would like to also ask that once the representatives from the department have had an opportunity


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to go through this with each one of the members of the committee, and proponent, neutral, and opponent testimony have been heard, that we be able to recall the members that are speaking on behalf of the department to respond to any of the concerns that may be brought forward both by the members of the committee, as well as to respond to any questions that may have come from those wishing to testify that we were not able to address.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Okay, we will follow that process.




SENATOR BOHLKE:  First proponent?  I see Polly Feis, who's going to make us all understand all these pages of technical amendments in short order.


POLLY FEIS:  I'm Polly Feis, Department of Education.  To my right is Tim Kemper, and to my left is Dennis Pool.  You have before you LB 348 and amendment...a proposed Amendment 0098.  (Exhibits A and B) I would like to say right off the...  right in the beginning that due to a bill drafting error, Section 10, which had to do with placement issues for students who are coming back into a school system has been deleted, or it was put in there by error and is no longer in there, if the amendments are adopted.  There are 31 sections to this bill.  We would like to highlight some of those sections, but open for questions on...  on any of them.  They are technical in nature and, as you said, they are affectionately known as a technical amendment bill.  Some people think they are technical, some think they are more than that.  But we would like to proceed with Section 1, that's Tim.


TIM KEMPER:  Section 1 is LB 1174 from last year, and several of you were committee members at that time.  if you'll remember when LB 259 was enacted back in 1991 ...  or in 1990, it provided that affiliated school systems would help pay for high school facilities after their opportunity to vote, and it would be for high school only.  Amendments were made in LB 511 of 1991.  That incurred some liability for bonded indebtedness for grades below grade nine under certain circumstances, including contracts.  Representatives of companies that issue bonds quickly noted that bonded indebtedness is a rather permanent arrangement, contracts are not.  And so last year, LB 1174 was introduced by Senator Schellpeper to revert the language to as it had been back in LB 259.  That bill was one of many that simply didn't get beyond the first stage of debate.  The exact


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provisions of that bill are Section 1 of this bill.


POLLY FEIS:  Any questions about that particular section?  Section 2, and in your sheet here, we have...we've shown that by each section what page of the bill this is on, and whether the amendment addresses that particular section.  Section 2 is a definition term, and it is in State Statute 79-101 79-101, and it defines the terms.  And we have ...  we're proposing to include a definition for pre-kindergarten programs.  Since we do have pre-kindergarten programs in our school districts, that it would be helpful to have that definition in statute.


DENNIS POOL:  I'm Dennis Pool, and I'd like to speak to Section 3.  With the affiliation of school districts gradually working towards completion, we discovered that we had a problem of a window of time which is imposed upon county superintendents for issuing orders.  The final orders to enact these changes in school boundaries between January 1 and June 1.  And for many of these county officials, this made the window with affiliation very narrow to work within.  And so it is our recommendation that we remove the front end of that from the statute, the January 1, leave in place the June 1 which is required for state aid purposes, that way we give the county officials' a ...  a broader window in which they can issue their final orders.


POLLY FEIS:  On Section 4, we're talking about electronic transfer of signatures.  That's pretty technical.  I'd like to go to Section 5, which in statute there was established in 1974, 1 believe...or '71, they established the student personnel services in the department and named administrator, a director at a certain level and it talked about certain things that this section would do.  Over the years, the needs of the school districts have changed, and we would like to amend and delete some of that section and so that it reads as you see on page 8 of the amendment ...  8 of the bill.  What the change is, is the State Department would provide the general supervision and coordination of student personnel services.  More or less takes away mandating a certain level of person in the department.  Dennis?


DENNIS POOL:  Now we'll move to Sections 7 and 8.  Currently, county superintendents and other county officials are very familiar with working with a joint school district.  And a joint school district is one which has territory in more than one county.  With affiliation, districts that had


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previously not had territory in more than one county, now find themselves in that position.  In other words, they have territory in counties that they did not previously have territory.  So we need to be able to clarify to the county officials, the clerks especially, those assignments that they are required to do in order to certify the notifications of the affiliated taxes, the levies, to the clerks of the other counties.  And this simply takes what's currently in the statute and expands it to include affiliated school systems.


TIM KEMPER:  In Section 9, it's actually a follow-up to Section 7 and 8.  Currently, school districts have to file their budget, and a school district's budget can be a fairly thick document by the time you get through a general fund, and a sinking fund, and a building fund, and a depreciation fund, and on and on and on, and notification of publication and hearings, et cetera.  Currently, they're required to file a copy in every county in which they have property.  For Sand Hills Public Schools, that's six sets of this, plus one to the department, and one to the State Auditor, and you can imagine.  Since only one county as ...  as has been the case in statute for years, as only one county is actually obligated to set their levy and then notify the other counties.  We think it's appropriate that they just file the budget in that same one county.  That is the concept of headquarters county that is articulated in Section 7 and 8.


POLLY FEIS:  Are there any questions about what we've gone over so far?  As I said before, Section 10 was a drafting error on the placement procedures for each school district, and that is no longer in there according to our amendment.  Section 12?


DENNIS POOL:  Section 12 deals with a current statute, 79-488.04, which deals with the transportation payments required, or the collection of funds for transporting nonresident students.  With the enrollment option program and some of the problems that have been encountered working with transportation.  We also worked through some of the formulas involved in this particular statute.  Being a former math teacher, I worked through the formula looking at it from several different scenarios, and we had a very difficult time of trying to determine actually what the formula even calculated.  In other words, it didn't necessarily even calculate a valid number.  In some scenarios when you would work through it, if the number of students was increased, the cost of transporting students actually went up, rather than the cost per pupil going down.


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So some of those things didn't make a lot of sense.  And also it asks that the board of education members be held personally liable for anything that was not charged in excess of the ...  the current mileage.  With a bad formula that never really did define clearly what the charges should be, we felt that it would be best if we would just simply try to let the school districts determine on their own, for example, what situations they would have to ...  what charge to recover their actual cost, because they would be able to figure those costs much better than what we would be able to.  Then, the Section 13, part of that is, it deals with...  currently says it provides for an affiliated school system to pay the...  or to incur the transportation fee, and an affiliated system, itself, can't incur expenses, and so we're just going to replace that with the affiliated high school district, which is actually the high school district that would provide the transportation.


POLLY FEIS:  I'd like to go back to Section 11.  That might have raised some concerns on ...  with not understanding exactly what was happening here.  This section has to do with the admission of children into school, and what we did is basically delete the language that is pretty archaic about such child has demonstrated through recognized testing procedures approved by the State Board of Education that she or he is capable of carrying the work of these grades.  We are proposing that be deleted and that there be some other ways children can get into school.  Like the ...  as you'll read there on page 12, lines 19 through 24.  For example, children who come in from another jurisdiction where they were allowed to go to school before our ages, they would be allowed to attend kindergarten, and you'll see how that plays out.  Tim?


TIM KEMPER:  You want me to do 14 and 15?  Very simply, Sections 14 and 15 would give Class II districts the same legal authority that other K-12 districts have to dispose of property.  Currently, they would need a vote of their people.  In every other kind of K-12 district, it can be done by an action of the board, although it does require a two-thirds majority vote of board members.  Section 16, this is very interesting.  The ...  the Nebraska Budget Act specifies that all governing bodies must follow the Nebraska Budget Act, but then school law says that Class II, III, IV, V, and VI districts, in other words, everybody but Class I's, are subject to the budget act.  it's contradictory and we think they should be reconciled.  Section 17, this is...  this is scary on it's face, but in reality, it's just bringing statute in line with current


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reality.  Two years ago, a Supreme Court Opinion found that the 143 percent factor on in lieu of school land tax was unconstitutional.  So, pursuant to a ...  an Attorney General's Opinion, we have been paying on the basis of 100 percent ever since, and are very uncomfortable with a statute that says 143, and a supreme court that says 100.  We'd like to bring those into congruence with each other.


POLLY FEIS:  Section 18, there is in statute that any fees paid to the department for purchase of some of the materials that we have are deposited into the department, and it's very restrictive on how those funds can be used.  What it's interpreted to mean is it can only be used for buying print materials, and we would like to provide a little more flexibility in this statute and be able to publish, develop, and cause to be developed, acquired, and distribute tele ...  telecommunication resources, rather than just print material, because that fund is...  has some money in it now that would be more in line with the need of the schools.  Section 19 is the ...  reflecting the Federal legislation that ads two new handicapping conditions to the Federal law, and we are reflecting the Federal law in state law.  Those two new handicapping conditions are traumatic brain injury and autism.  Now we are into option enrollments.


DENNIS POOL:  Yes.  These are Section 21 through 25, all deal with the choice for the Option Enrollment Program, and so I'll go through these individually.  Section 21 currently states that if a school district basically has been contracting its pupils or a block of pupils for the previous two years that those districts are then ineligible to use option enrollment for their students.  With the process of affiliation of school districts, all the school districts basically will be in an common affiliated system and will be paying for a secondary tax levy.  And so this restriction is not as important as before, because, otherwise, it's ...  basically they're going to pay all the tax.  it wouldn't make much sense to ...  to have a Class I write a contract to a Class III to pay for students, and they're all paying for the same tax dollars, they're paying out for the same base anyway, so that basically allows them to go ahead and use the ...  the Enrollment Option Program.


POLLY FEIS:  I might add here that Senator Baack has been involved in the development of these technical amendments.


DENNIS POOL:  Thank you, Polly.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Well then, we may have a lot of questions.


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DENNIS POOL:  Section 22 basically is a ...  dealing with the phase-in of the option program, and beginning this next year, it's basically going to all be implemented anyway, so there's no need to have that continued in the statutes.  Section 23, what we've tried to do is to streamline the application process.  The way the statutes were written previously, is to make sure that everyone was equally informed to make sure that we had a record of the reasons that students were choosing the Option Enrollment Program, and we have, through the past three years working with the program and working with schools, have discovered that much of the information could be simplified.  The process flow could be streamlined as far as who's notifying who at what particular time.  And, so we've tried to...  to take that into consideration, here.  And also a part of this that is a, I think significant, is that when we ask on the application form that goes to...  from the resident school and to the option school for pupils to list the reasons that they want to be involved in an option program.  We felt that many times that the reasons that they supplied were simply to sell themselves for being able to use the option program, rather than being the real valid reason as to why they would choose option.  So what we're proposing to do with this, is to take that part out of the application and the form, and then, basically, follow up with a follow-up survey conducted by the department and to do that in a scientific manner so that we can gather what we hope will be a ...  really, a more valid picture of why pupils are choosing the Enrollment Option Program.  So that's basically Section number 23.  That deals with again, like I said, most of the cancellation, more or less streamlining the form process.  Now, Section 24 helps us so that we have a situation where we can ...  we don't need to know when an application has necessarily been accepted or rejected.  We really only need to know when the application has been rejected, because at that point it is open for appeal.  And so we, right now, have at every levels them of ...  the...  the parents or the pupil informing us of...  that their...  this phase has been approved, this phase has been approved, and all we really need to know is, as long as it's going forward, we'll find out in the end.  We don't need to know at each particular step, and so all we need to know is if it's basically been rejected.  The last section, Section 25, is one that deals with the transportation.  Now this was one that, through some research, we went back and we found out that it really was the intent that the laws should be open to allow schools to transport option students if they so choose to do that,


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without having to charge them a nonresident fee.  And, currently the way the law is, is that they do have to charge a fee and they have to cover these additional costs, so what we're saying there, and working with Senator Baack's office on this, is that we want to open that back up as was originally intended, so that the school district, the option school district, if they chose to, could choose to transport those pupils at no charge.  And the ...  the last part of that, then, is that the reimbursement for that transportation from the state would be moved back to the school district.  For free and reduced lunch for the low-income families, the state currently provides for reimbursement to those families for the option program, and so to...  to better serve the parents and to make sure that we have a little bit better and more accurate information, it would be worked out that the school districts in which the parents reside or are optioning to, once they decide to provide that option transportation, that if they chose to charge for it, they may, and if that parent, then, has a reimbursement coming that the ...  that the school district would claim to the department for that reimbursement, and then those ...  the school district could reimburse the parent at whatever their agreement was, and that's currently available, but we're just now saying that instead of doing that as an option, that we will just extend it to the schools and let them be able to do that for all of those people.  And that fits in, then, with this option of being able to charge or not charge.  And, in order to reduce some of that expenditure, then, potentially, you have a situation where if a school district would choose not to charge their option students, then even those who are free and reduced lunch, or the low-level income would not have to be charged for that, and so there would be potential reduction there.  So that, we think, is a ...  will clarify a little bit of that transportation.  Right now, it's a real challenge to try to keep the parents and ...  and addresses with ...  they may be different addresses than the pupil's, and to make sure that transportation money goes to the right address, and this will clarify it because ...  we hope will help clarify it because it's going to be with the school district in which the children ...  the...the particular pupil is being served.




SENATOR BOHLKE:  Just a note in that area, while we're on that topic, is that something that's been called to the ...  our attention, not in ...  in the funding of transportation, but the fact that currently if you live a mile and a half from a school, at 14 you may drive to


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school, and that was usually to serve those rural students.  What's happening outside of city ...  or school districts, maybe such as Hastings, is we have someone now living a mile and a half outside of Hastings who, by choice, is coming into Hastings, and so at 14 we have students coming in ...  into the city ...  this may be something that I ...  I don't think was the intent of...  originally in that area of transportation, and something we ...


DENNIS POOL:  Certainly one of those issues that you don't anticipate that...




DENNIS POOL:  ...  certainly could cause a problem.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Right.  So, maybe we'll be able to do something through this ...  through an amendment or something in this bill.


POLLY FEIS:  Section 26 deals with the early childhood education pilot projects, of which there are four.  And they were to be evaluated three years after they were funded.  The original statute war.  anticipating the funding would start in '91, in actuality, they were not funded till '92, so we need to change...move the date back a year.  So that is very technical.  Tim?


TIM KEMPER:  Section 27's even more technical.  When 1059 was written, there were not the opportunity for school districts to have more than one general fund levy.  There's a provision in the...  in the hill called minimum effort, where we have to measure a district's actual levy and not allow state aid to drive it too low.  Unfortunately, no one foresaw the likelihood of the ...  of the way that affiliation worked out, where you can have more than one general fund levy, and/or mixes with Class VI districts.  Therefore, we need a statutory formula to determine how to calculate that ...  that minimum effort.  Section 28, I'm sorry, Section 28, this is an interesting thing.  In the past, when a school district or...  or county nonresident high school tuition fund refunded state aid payments, based on the correction of their data, they reverted of the general fund, and never ended up back in state aid, unless there was a specific appropriations done to re-appropriate the money into state aid.  Annually, we are required to notify the governor of certain things he needs to take into consideration in the budget, relative to state aid, and we're suggesting that part of that be a request from us,


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that any of those returned funds be re-appropriated to state aid.  Now, another bill that one of the members has, could very well make that moot.  But as things stand right now, they would go to the general fund, and without a specific re-appropriation, we'd be lost to the original purpose of state aid.  Section 29, school districts which receive large amounts of their revenue from the Federal government and don't receive them in a timely way, and very bluntly, Macy, Winnebago, and Santee have always been able to come to the State Board of Education and, after a hearing, get half of their state aid paid up front.  It's the after a hearing part that we are asking you to eliminate.  I can speak from personal experience, we've had three hearings in the last three years, and I've been the only person that has appeared at any of those hearings.  We believe that we can adequately monitor the necessity of those up-front payments, and would ask that the requirement for a costly hearing be eliminated.


POLLY FEIS:  Section 30 has to do with the Boys Ranch in the Gilcrest, which was...Iocated in a Class I, and it goes back to 1971, and it was special legislation at that point in time, allowed some contracting language to be infused into the statute.  Gilcrest School dissolved some time ago, and we thought the statute is no longer needed and should be deleted.  And Section 31 is emergency clause.  And that's the exciting 348.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  All right.  Since we started that, Senator Bob Wickersham, from Harrison, has joined the committee, and we did announce that after the proponents and opponents, we will have these people come back forward if we have more questions at that time, Senator Wickersham asked them.  Questions?  Senator Warner?


SENATOR WARNER:  On the ...  this is probably very clear and I'm not reading it ...  when you have an affiliated school district, it's ...  it is the ...  the county clerk of the school ...  of the county where the administrative office is that sets the levy?  I assume they set the levy based upon the total valuation of the whole district, not just their account?


DENNIS POOL:  That's correct.  In other words, it's the entire valuation of the entire affiliated system of that high school that's headquartered in whatever county.


TIM KEMPER:  If you'll recall, Senator, last year or the year before, State Statute 79-433 and 434, 1 believe, were amended for school district levies that were not being set


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uniformly across county lines, and now this just carries that exact same procedure forward to affiliated systems.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Any other questions at this time?  Senator Wickersham?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  This is on page 13, and I'm sorry I got here a little bit late, but I was reading, it's in Section 12, and your striking...this is on line 27, you're striking the word all such, and you're inserting the word additional.  You're talking about fees for busing.  What other fees would they be paying?  It says additional fees.  I'm just curious.  It has to do with transportation of children residing outside the district's boundaries.


TIM KEMPER:  Senator, I would ...  I would assume from the history of that legislation, that it is in addition to, for example, the tuition fees that are being charged many of those nonresident students.  If you'll remember, prior to the enactment of the Enrollment Option Program, there was virtually always a legal requirement, that when it's student from outside your boundaries was being educated by you, that you charged some form of tuition.  That would be my conclusion of...  of the history of that language.


DENNIS POOL:  I'm sure that's correct.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  All right, and then page 18, this is Section 17, where you're dealing with the school lands question, and I ...  I agree with you, but that statute needs to be cleaned up.  I just...I think the statutes are clear, but just so we know what we're talking about here for the record, the appraised value of that are referenced in those sections is not the assessed valuation, it's...  it's a separate valuation prepared by the Board of Educational Lands and Funds.


TIM KEMPER:  That's correct.  To...  to my knowledge, those properties are not actually...not actually assessed by the local assessor.  The only value that is available, and certainly the one that is, by statute, used in ...  in the payment of in lieu of is the appraised value as done by Educational Lands and Funds, that's correct.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Other questions?  Senator Beutler?


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Yeah, I'd like to refer back to Section 19, pages 20 to 23.  These inclusions you imply from your handout, are required by federal legislation, is that


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POLLY FEIS:  Yes, yes.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Okay.  When you say they're required by Federal legislation, they're required in exactly this form?  or are there choices?  Or is this exactly what we have to do.


POLLY FEIS:  This is exactly what we had to do, and...  and the language reflects the Federal language, as far as the definitions and the two categories.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Federal law says we have to ...  have to define them this way, and we have to include them both?  Is that correct?


POLLY FEIS:  That's my understanding.  Is anybody here that knows ...  I think that's correct.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Well, I would...  I would like to get that straight, because...




SENATOR BEUTLER:  ...  I would like to know whether we have alternatives or whether this just...  is just cut and dry, and this is what we need to do.  I don't...  can you tell me a little more about the definition of...  of autism.  It says here it shall mean developmental disability.  Developmental disability being any disability that impedes development?  Is that a fair statement?


POLLY FEIS:  I don't want to comment on the definitions.  I do not know.  I'm sorry.  I can find out.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Well, the definition is so broad that it seems to me that any...  any disability that in any way impedes development, if it affects verbal or nonverbal communication, regardless of its...of its medical definition, could be defined as autism .  I mean, it seems like almost a back ...  it seems like a backward definition to me.  It's ...  it's not defining the medical symptoms, but it's defining a general condition that could apply to a whole number of different medical problems.


POLLY FEIS:  That's true, Senator Beutler, and if you look on page ...


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SENATOR BEUTLER:  I mean doesn't this...  this is basically putting into law that any developmental disability that has a...  a significant consequence is going to be covered?


POLLY FEIS:  I think there's a matter of degree in here, as far as...I don't think it's...  autism is not a -mild handicapping condition.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  But we've eliminated the old language, which said severe communication or...  and other developmental and educational ...


POLLY FEIS:  We have significantly, and I don't know how you define that clinically.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Well, we were helping autistic kids before, is it expected that this will be a ...  an expansion in the number of children who would make use of this particular program?


POLLY FEIS:  We'll have Don Anderson come before the hearing's over.  He can answer these questions.  I really don't know, other than these reflect exactly what the Federal regs have, and whether we can do alternatives to the definitions, I do not know.  But we will find out.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Okay, thank you.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Other questions?


POLLY FEIS:  There is no fiscal note.  I mean, no fiscal impact, there is a fiscal note, and we will be around for any questions that come up during the testimony.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  All right, and we may be calling you back.


POLLY FEIS:  All right.  Thank you.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Other proponents?


MARTHA FRICKE:  Senator Bohlke, members of the Education Committee, my name is Martha Fricke, F-R-I-C-K-E.  I am here this afternoon representing the Nebraska Association of School Boards, and I am simply here to say that the Nebraska Association of School Boards is in support of all of the propositions that ate included in LB 348, and we urge that you forward the bill.  We feel that it's necessary in many ways to clear up a lot of misunderstandings or outdated statutes, and so I'm simply here to ...  to tell you that we


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will support this, and ask you to forward it.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you.  Are there any questions of Martha.  I see none.  Other proponents?  As they come forward, I just may make the announcement that, I don't know how many of you in the audience were here specifically to testify to Section 10, which was pointed out, has been deleted, and if that is your purpose in being here, we're sorry for the miscommunication.  That will be LB 659, and that will be heard on March 2nd.  I just wanted to make that announcement in case that's the reason you're staying here and you want to back...  come back and return on March 2nd, so, go ahead.


LAUREN WISMER:  Thank you.  Vice Chairperson Bohlke, and members of the committee, my name is Lauren W-I-S-M-E-R.  I am an attorney with Cline, Williams, Wright, Johnson and Oldfather, here in Lincoln, and my practice consists primarily of writing opinions with respect to municipal bonds in the State of Nebraska.  As a bond attorney, we like clarity, and ambiguity poses a problem, specifically Section 10-716.01 as it presently exists.  It's sufficiently unclear to keep us from giving approving legal opinions in districts where there are contracted students.  Section 1 of LB 348 is an improvement, and I would support LB 348 to the extent that it makes modifications to...  to Section 10-716.01.  Also with me today is Dan Smith, and I will let him address this also.


DAN SMITH:  Senator Bohlke, and Members of the Committee, I'm with Kirkpatrick, Pettis.  Earlier ...  late last year, we represented the Chadron Public Schools on a ...  on a bond issue where the voters had overwhelming approved the issue.  And it wasn't till we really got to looking into this that we found that, had a couple of contracts, or a couple of situations in that Chadron Public Schools been handled differently, they would have really been in a position where they couldn't have told potential investors on ...  in ...  the ...  of these bonds what the security was on it.  As it turns out, they did not have any contracted students, so we didn't have to deal with that, but this bill will definitely make that situation a...  a moot point, and we would certainly encourage you to adopt it.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you.  Are there any questions from the committee?  I see none.


DAN SMITH:  Thank you.


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SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you.  Other proponents?  Okay.  Opponents of the bill?  And as I stated before, I would ask that they be specifically to LB 348.


DAVID LOSTROH:  Senator Bohlke, Members of the Commission (sic), my name is David Lostroh, and I'm on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Home Educators


Association, and just to clarify the ...  the matter of Section 10, that's why I'm here.  Is there a written amendment that would delete Section 10, and if there is, will it be voted today to be adopted?  If ...  if it will not be adopted today, and there's any chance that it would not be adopted, then I would ask to be allowed to testify with regard to Section 10.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  I understand your question ...


MARSHA BABCOCK:  I'd like to respond 'to that.  Unfortunately, the materials were taken up to the bill drafters and, in error, this particular provision was intended to form the substance of LB 659, and for some, reason it was incorporated into the Education Technical Bill, and was not discovered until the bill had already been six-parted.  So, I notified the department and Bill Drafters immediately and asked them to repeal that particular provision out of the technical bill, because it will be heard in 659, so I will be advising the committee to accept the amendment that Section 10 be stricken.




SENATOR BOHLKE:  I guess in answer to Your question, you know, with that advice, with knowing that we have LB 659 and a hearing date on that, that will be deleted I'm sure.


DAVID LOSTROH:  Okay, so there's no ...  no possibility that section ...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  This is not any attempt to ...  no ...  this is not any attempt to slip one by or anything, it's ...  it was an honest mistake, and we're sorry for the inconvenience, and ...  but the ...  and I think, at this point, the proposed hearing is March 2nd, and this bill is available for you in the form of 659 to review.


DAVID LOSTROH:  Okay, so my understanding is that the Section 10 will be stricken by the Education Committee.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  That's right, right, that is right.


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February 8, 1993

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DAVID LOSTROH:  Okay, thank you.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Other opponents?  Anyone wanting to appear in the neutral?


LINDA PRICE:  Senator Bohlke, and Members of the Education Committee, my name is Linda Price, and I'm here to speak in opposition to LB 348.  (Exhibit C)


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Oh, I'm sorry, we were on...


LINDA PRICE:  Is that all right?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Yes, that's fine.


LINDA PRICE:  I was coming up when you went to neutral.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  I'm sorry, I didn't see you.


LINDA PRICE:  That's fine.  I'm a concerned citizen and a tax payer, and after reading LB 348 carefully, I find a lack of definition of some terms that I don't feel comfortable with, and I would like to walk through the bill with you a little bit and just ask some of those questions if I might.  On page 4, first of all, regarding the pre-kindergarten programs.  My question would be what is the cost for these programs?  And in relation to that also on page 31 it's already...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  I think that they announced that there was not a fiscal note attached with this.


LINDA PRICE:  Yeah, there is not.  Well, my concern would be that in light of these programs and the Early Childhood Education programs on page 31, the pilot programs alone would cost $400,000 a year, and to implement those programs in every school district in the state of Nebraska, to me, would seem to be very, very expensive at tax payers' money.  So, for those I'd like to point out that when the appropriations do come down, it will be expensive for tax payers.  Okay.  Moving on to page 7 and 8, State Statute 79-307, where it says the State Department of Education ...  this is line 25...shall prescribe forms for making all reports and regulations for all proceedings under the general school laws of the state.  The department shall establish procedures for submission of forms on electronic media, or via telecommunication systems.  The department may require the use of a personally identifiable number, which


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it will assign on electronic data submissions in lieu of requiring authorized signatures on paper forms.  My questions there would be, do these reports and regulations at the beginning of that section apply to personally identifiable students?  The reason that I would think that is because it does say all at the beginning, all reports and regulations for all proceedings under the general school laws.  And if it does refer to personally identifiable students, what kind of information is going to be included about each of those students?  And further, then, I know you had said in relation to the telecommunications systems earlier, that you wanted to have that as well as paperwork, but actually, what is the telecommunication system.  It concerns me that it is not defined more specifically in this bill.  And then, again, a cost factor, like with the pre-kindergarten programs, what is the cost that will be involved to the tax payer.  To me, it would seem that it could be quite expensive.  And the purpose of the personally identifiable number, what is the reason for that?  Who has access to it?  It doesn't say in here, do ...  do parents have access to it?  Myself, as citizen, as a tax payer, as a parent, I'd wonder who had access to it.  And as a parent, I would also wonder, would this add another layer bureaucracy when you try to get information regarding individual students.  Would it make it more difficult for the parent to obtain that information with this number?  So it would be further bureaucracy.  In relation to the telecommunication systems, as well, I'd like to ask about page 19.  There it says that the telecommunication resources are to be developed, rather than published.  Again, what are they?  Are they the same ones that are mentioned on 7 and 8 that I just looked at and ...  and asked you about?  And then, what is the cost of implementation?  It says there will be staffing earlier in this section on the earlier lines, and the ...  the staffing would be lines 14 to 19.  What would be the total cost of staffing?  Again, as a tax payer, I'm concerned about expense.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Of course, that ...  those are...  those are things that are in law now, right?


LINDA PRICE:  Yes, right.  The implementation of the whole thing...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  So, really, we're ...  the hearing we're really about is those things that are being changed today, technical changes.


LINDA PRICE:  Which would be the telecommunication systems.


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LINDA PRICE:  Okay.  Then what would be the cost of


implementing those?  My question would really be a big cost one, again, with this.  And then, just a couple as to word definitions that were confusing for me.  I did read Section 2 of the bill carefully, where you were defining everything, but on page 8, if I could ask you to turn back there again, lines 21 to 23, it says by ...  by July 1, 1993, all taxable property and all ...  all elementary and high school students shall be in school systems, which offer education in grades Kindergarten through 12.  Now, after looking at Section 2, it was confusing for me, because school systems isn't defined in Section 2, school district is, but school system isn't.  Then if you look down to the end of this page 8, on line 28, it says the students within a school and then district is stricken, and system is put in its place.  Are they the same entity, are they different entities?  From the definitions in Section 2, 1 can't tell.  Okay, and then page 9, please, there are several references under State Statute 79-433 to headquarters county.  One on line 13, one on line 19, and then one on line 27.  There again, from reading Section 2, the definition section, I don't see what a headquarters county is, so that, again, would be a definition of terms.  And then, one other further example, if you would permit me quickly, is on line 15, or page 15, excuse me, line 20.  1 was interested in why the word local is struck.  It says the local school board may authorize school provided transportation.  If local isn't in there, does that mean the State Board of Ed ...  or the State Board of Education?  What school board is it referring to?  For me, that's confusing.  And on the section that was stricken, I believe that's Section 10, on page 11, there, on line 19, it does say local school district, so the word local is included.  For me, some of those items are confusing and, due to my concerns about the lack of definitions, and the possible expenditures involved from all of it, I would urge you to consider voting against LB 348.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you, Linda.  I saw the three people who testified earlier taking notes, and we did say that we would bring them back up at the end, and if we have concerns about any of those definitions, I think they are the people that probably could give us the best explanation.


LINDA PRICE:  Okay.  All right.  May I submit one other point please?  That, as a tax payer, I find it difficult when amendments are added at the hearing that an individual


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has come to, because if you don't have a copy of the amendment and can't read it before, even though we try to listen carefully to what you say, when it's done through a mike, it is difficult to address something when you haven't seen the written amendment.  Since this is a public hearing, it would be nice if those amendments could be published prior to the hearing.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you for your comments.


LINDA PRICE:  Thank you very much for your time.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Other opponents, so I don't miss anyone this time.  All right, those wishing to appear in the neutral testimony ...  part of the testimony?  I also see no one.  Does the committee ...  anyone on the committee have further questions from Polly, or Tim, or...


SENATOR RASMUSSEN:  Was ...  was Don going to come in and answer the questions...  Senator Beutler's questions?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Was lie coming in at this time to ...  ?


DENNIS POOL:  We asked him to come right over, but ...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  He's not here yet?  Is it all right if we get a response ...


SENATOR BEUTLER:  We can do it privately, respond ...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  All right, okay.  Are there any other questions the committee has?  I don't believe that there will be a closing on this bill.  So with that, that ends the testimony on LB 348.  (See also Exhibits D and E) We will now open on LB 336 and.  385 (sic) together.  Senator Bernard-Stevens asked if we may do that, and I said it seemed to me those people who wanted to testify on those, certainly had comments on...  on both of those, and so that would be fine with me, so he may come forward, and I would say to you that when Senator Withem said he had to be out of town, he assured me that he put things on the agenda for me that were noncontroversial.  If I would have looked at the fact that Senator Bernard-Stevens was introducing two of those, I would have known right away to question Senator Withem, but, with that, Senator Bernard-Stevens, we are anxiously awaiting your opening on the noncontroversial LB 336 and 685.