Rural School and Special Education Funding

As we continue to work towards providing the best possible education for all students in our state, I want to highlight the importance of Senator Sanders’ LB 583, which proposes an increase in state aid for K-12 public school students and additional funding for special education.

Many schools, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to adequate funding and resources; Nebraska provides less money to fund a student sitting in a Pawnee City classroom than if they are sitting in a classroom in Papillion.TEEOSA, the main state funding mechanism for schools, is tilted heavily in favor of the twenty largest school districts in Nebraska. The three largest school districts in Nebraska- Omaha, Lincoln, and Millard- receive hundreds of millions of dollars apiece, representing over 50% of TEEOSA funding. The next seventeen largest school districts, when combined with Omaha, Lincoln, and Millard, account for over 75% of state funding through TEEOSA. On the other hand, over 180 rural school districts do not receive a penny of state funding through TEEOSA. Rural districts are left almost completely dependent on property taxpayers to keep their lights on and doors open.

LB 583 aims to help with that by providing much-needed support to rural schools in Nebraska. Rural schools often face unique challenges, including limited resources and teacher shortages, which can make it difficult for them to provide quality education to their students. However, by allocating $1,500 annually for each student, LB 583 can provide additional funding and resources that can be particularly beneficial for rural schools. In short, no matter how small the public school is, at least $1,500 per student would be inserted through the foundation aid within the school funding formula.

This bill includes a provision that 80% of special education funding be covered through a combination of federal and state funding, with the state portion being nearly $160 million. Unlike the first portion of the bill, this component would function outside of the existing formula. It is critical that special education is funded appropriately

Overall, LB 583 is a crucial step towards providing better educational opportunities for all students in our state, including those in rural schools. I am committed to ensuring that every student has access to quality education, and I believe that this bill is a critical part of that effort.

I look forward to continuing to discuss these issues in the coming weeks on the legislative floor. As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email:

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