Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha tells colleagues during budget debate he proposes the school funding change, because his school districts wouldn’t benefit from the compromise.
“So, we’re going to have the discussion either with or without the amendments,” Krist says. “I’m sorry that people have taken offense to the amendments. I, too, have had amendments dropped on things that I care about.”
Education Committee chairwoman, Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, left no doubt that she opposes Krist’s efforts, suggesting they amount to a money grab by some districts.
“A 20% increase for some school districts is not enough. An 11% increase for a school district is not enough,” Sullivan told colleagues during a legislative floor speech. “They didn’t win enough. They want it all.”
Sullivan stated she would not go along with any attempt to change the delicate balance reached on LB 407.
The side debate matters to the more central debate on the $7.8 billion spending proposal for the next two years. The compromise saves $8.6 million and adds to the money available for the legislature to spend this year. Public school funding also is the largest expenditure in the state budget, totaling $137.5 million.
The state filters public school funding through a complicated formula called the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act, known by the acronym TEEOSA.
Krist presses his point that the compromise reached on TEEOSA this year shortchanges the two school districts in his senatorial district and that it isn’t fair.
“That’s a discussion we’re going to have. Not sarcastically. Not vindictively. But we’ll have a discussion and we’ll move on. We always do.”
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AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]