As some states face firing thousands of teachers due to overdrawn budgets, the president of the Nebraska State Education Association says our state is remarkably fortunate. Jess Wolf says Nebraska’s been generously allotted federal stimulus dollars that have helped keep the state’s K-through-12 schools afloat.
“We haven’t had the notices of layoffs that have occurred in other states,” Wolf says. “We managed over the last two years, really, to have very few losses in relationship to the number of classroom teachers that we have in the state.”
Wolf credits the governor, state lawmakers and other Nebraska leaders for their guidance and actions during the challenging economic times.
“Currently, there are some areas around Nebraska where they’re talking about having some cuts, but there hasn’t been very many that’ve materialized,” Wolf says. He says compared to California, which is cutting 26-thousand teachers or Illinois, which is losing 10- to 15-thousand teachers, “we’re really very fortunate here.”
While Nebraska’s legislature adjourned last month after cutting many millions of dollars from the budget, Wolf says lawmakers recognized the importance of keeping education as one of their chief funding priorities.
“The state has done a fairly decent job of trying to maintain their fiscal responsibility and they’ve maintained it by being fairly conservative in terms of how they spend their dollars,” Wolf says. He notes, the federal stimulus dollars came in and allowed the state to make up what would’ve been a “major shortfall” in education.