Committee on Education

Public Hearing

February 8, 1994

Page 95


LB 1310


DENNIS POOL:  Good afternoon, my name is Dennis Pool, I am the administrator for the Department of Education.  Senator and Committee, I first would like to thank you for supporting this, sponsoring this bill.  it is our opportunity as the year goes along to review things that caused us problems in administering our programs and this is our opportunity to try to make some corrections to make it easier for school districts and their administration as well as our administration of our programs.  What I want to do quickly, and briefly, go through sections of the bill and outline for you what the changes are and then having questions on any of those questions we can go back and talk.  about them in whatever detail you might want to do so.  First of all in Sections 1, 5, and Section 6, LB 734 of


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February 8, 1994

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1993, made some changes so what the attempt here is to harmonize the budget filing process with the rest of the statutes so the date change there is.  from August 25 to September 10.  Section 2, the language stricken in paragraph 3, section (c) is obsolete, in Section 79-402.18 it required that after July 1 of 1983 all Class I territory be in an affiliated system or part of a Class VI system so therefore there is no Class I territory that is not or has not been affiliated or a part of a current Class VI school system.  In Section 3, paragraph 2(c), and in Paragraph 4(a), the language is unnecessary, the inconsistencies in the amounts and the time periods worked by a substitutes teachers makes the data basically worthless as far as any analysis or historical value, because it changes so much from district to district as to how they report their substitute wages.  And there is no definition.  Section 4, the date changed there from October I to July 31 for the reporting of their transportation inspections.  it is our understanding -that those inspections ate basically done by July 31 and this will allow the department then to collect the bus inspections along with other reports and thus eliminating two additional reports that school districts have to file at the end of, or the first of October.  So our hope there is to streamline that data collection process.  In Section 7, our other reorganization dates for school districts are basically effective on June 1, and this is one that was evidentially missed so our proposal there is to change that date to June 1 from June 15.  In Section 8, the language there is obsolete, again the stricken language identifies the special provisions applicable to individuals who in 1976, were renewing their Nebraska provisional rural elementary teaching certificate.  Our current records indicate that all the individuals who held this certificate type have been able to move to a Nebraska standard teaching certificate under special provisions under Chapter 21, or they have allowed their certificates to lapse.  Section 9, the stricken language is obsolete.  NDE does not recommend teacher contracts basically in a time period when many rural schools did not have their own contracting provisions they would use a model contract.  In recent years, most districts provide their teachers with a specialized contract containing language addressing their local bargaining agreements and their employment conditions.  In Section 10, language is stricken requires that school districts again use a form provided by NDE to request services from their local Educational Service Unit.  Because of the variation of services provided by different service units and the unique individual needs of districts, the adoption of one form to


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meet all the local districts and ESU requirements is somewhat unrealistic.  The need for a form is unnecessary when districts may simply identify in a letter or a memoranda to the school the unique service that they are requesting from the service unit.  And finally, in Section 11, language stricken again is unnecessary.  The...  79-3815 was amended in the past to provide NDE to either 'the right to defer, receiving a copy of the district's budget.  NDE defers that requirement to the Auditor of Public Accounts in order to save the local districts, time, money and reduce the volume of paper stored and retained at NDE.  We are aware that there are several friendly amendments to this bill.  And at this time I would take any questions that you might have regarding any particular section or sections that you would have on our technical bill.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Are there any questions for Dennis?  I see none.


DENNIS POOL:  Thank you.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you for that opening.  Any others wishing to testify in support of the bill?


MARSHA BABCOCK:  Senator Bohlke and Members of the Committee, Marsha Babcock, testifying on behalf of Senator Withem today and in support of what may be the first truly and exclusively technical bill that this committee has ever seen from the department.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  And that is why I am indebted to Dennis for opening on this also.


MARSHA BABCOCK:  I know how hard you worked on this and in keeping with that I would simply like to offer a very technical amendment...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  It better be.


MARSHA BABCOCK:  ...for your consideration (Exhibit V).  Last year, as you might remember, the Professional Practices Commission came before us, changed the executive director to a clerk and inadvertently omitted a possible secretarial person that could be available for them if needed.  They have talked to us about that and Senator Withem agreed to propose legislation that would again allow them to have what they had previously and that is the opportunity to at least hire somebody on a permanent or an occasional basis, if that is what is more appropriate, to come in and provide clerical


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February 8, 1994

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support.  Again they would be expected to stay within the budgetary requirements that have already been set out so there should be no fiscal impact, but it does give them the authority to hire an additional person if they need to.  I have talked with the department about this and they are in agreement that it is indeed a technical amendment to the bill.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Are there any questions for Marsha?  Any technical questions?  I see none.  Any others wishing to offer testimony in support?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  If this one isn't technical ...


STAN SIBLEY:  Right, this is so technical even I don't understand it (Exhibit W).  Senator Bohlke and Members of the Committee, I am Stan Sibley and I represent the Omaha Public Schools and as Dennis Pool said earlier regarding this bill, it gives us an opportunity to deal with some strictly technical aspects and here is one that has recently come to my attention.  School districts, as you know, are given the authority to invest in securities and there is a bit of a problem given the current way of proving ownership of a security that we have come across.  The...  most of us know of securities that it is that very formal looking document that you get of the certificate, and if we as a school district try to prove ownership of a security that we have purchased, that we have invested in, we may not have that certificate.  The way the industry is moving now, those are oftentimes done in what is called a book entry account.  So what we will have the school district to indicate our investment in a particular security is a computer generated account number showing that we have invested in this particular security.  Our attorneys are not real sure that* we would not run into trouble in trying to prove ownership or to prove that we have done the investment, if we are using that as collateral in some other transaction for the school district.  So we are asking that this additional section be added to Section 79-1308.01(3) where it would simply just authorize the such securities can be demonstrated by book entry accounting.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Thank you.  Are there any questions?  I would appreciate an explanation of an "indentured."


STAN SIBLEY:  I thought it was something having to do with the gums and the...  no, I really don't know what that is, Senator.


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February 8, 1994

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SENATOR BOHLKE:  Senator Wickersham, did you have a questions?  I'm sorry I jumped ahead.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Well, we used to have indentured servants...




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...they came across on boats and worked off their passage.


STAN SIBLEY:  We never had those in Nebraska history.  Sorry.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Anyway, indentured should be beyond fourth grade.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Book entry accounts, those are something different than street accounts?


STAN SIBLEY:  Street accounts you will typically..




STAN SIBLEY:  If this is too technical ...


SENATOR RASMUSSEN:  No, we just saw a look of panic flash across a testifier's face, that is all.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  All right, I'll ask you afterwards.  But street accounts would authorize to hold potentially large security portfolios without telling anyone what was in them.


STAN SIBLEY:  I have no idea, Senator, if that would be covered in this amendment or not.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Okay.  All right.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Are there any other questions?


STAN SIBLEY:  Thank you.


MARY CAMPBELL:  Mary Campbell representing the ESU's, just want to thank the Department for honoring a request we brought to them to have removed from the statute a form that we are supposed to be using but does not exist.  So we appreciate that and hope that it will be excised from the state statutes.


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SENATOR BOHLKE:  Since I enjoyed reading that one.  Any questions of Mary?  Seeing none, anyone else wishing to testify in support?  Anyone in opposition?  Anyone in the neutral capacity?  Seeing none, the hearing is closed on LB 1310.


Disposition of Bills: 


LB 1123 - Indefinitely postponed, Sine Die.  LB 1138 - Indefinitely postponed, Sine Die.  LB 1247 - Indefinitely postponed, Sine Die.  LB 1295 - indefinitely postponed.  LB 1181 - Indefinitely postponed.  LB 1310 - Advanced to General File, as amended.  LB 1290 - Advanced to General File.


Chairperson Committee Clerk