FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Katie Linehan
K-12 FUNDING DISCUSSION SHOULD CONSIDER OUTCOMES
Nebraska Legislature Tackles Taxes, State Funding to Schools
Omaha, NE (March 30, 2016) – Today the Nebraska Legislature turned attention towards funding K-12 schools during floor debate on LB959. This discussion is crucial and will be ongoing. Taxes affect every Nebraskan and so does public education. But the discussion must also consider whether increased funding correlates to improved outcomes for students.
“We cannot continue to omit student outcomes from the discussion about K-12 funding and spending. It’s irresponsible to taxpayers and unfair to students,” said Educate Nebraska’s executive director, Katie Linehan, “over the past twenty-five years, Nebraska has raised taxes significantly to fund K-12 schools, but student outcomes have failed to keep pace with states that tax citizens less and have higher rates of student poverty.”
Since 1992, Nebraska has increased K-12 spending by more than 30% (in current dollars), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. From 1992 – 2011, only four states had smaller gains in student learning than Nebraska, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, even though Nebraska increased spending by more than most states, according to the Digest of Education Statistics. From 2008-2013, Nebraska increased K-12 spending by over 10%, a rate greater than all but two states and the District of Columbia. Nebraska’s per student spending is now greater than all but sixteen states.
Unlike most states, Nebraska has done very little to adopt and implement low to no-cost policies linked to improved student performance. Indiana, for instance, has adopted student-centered reforms that have resulted in improved student learning. Students in Indiana perform better than students in Nebraska in math and reading, even though Indiana has a higher percentage of students living in poverty, spends approximately $2,000 less per student per year than Nebraska, and decreased spending by 3% from 2008-2013.
“We should take a serious look at the states that have improved the quality of education children receive by adopting student-centered policy reform. Prioritizing education means prioritizing student learning, not just funding,” said Linehan.
Educate Nebraska focuses on expanding high quality school choices, empowering effective educators, and utilizing meaningful data to drive improvement. To learn more, visit www.EducateNebraska.org.