Newsletter Image

Superintendent Press Release March 10, 2023

Dear Cedar Bluffs Families,

Construction has definitely slowed on the new facility, and it looks as if we will need to start school using the existing cafeteria and kitchen and make the move to the new building over Winter Break affecting our school calendar. I did hear that parents felt Winter Break was a little long this year and that we started too early in August and I was working on trying to find a solution to that. However, with news that the new building is behind, we will need to extend the Winter Break so we can move our kitchen equipment and will need to start school by the 2nd week in August again. I apologize because I really do try to listen to our parent groups, if it is something I can find a solution to, I usually do!

LB753 was debated this week and moved to general file by a vote of 31-12. Which means they have enough votes to pass the legislation but not enough to amend the legislation with an emergency clause. An emergency clause means the legislation begins immediately. So if it passes, which it looks like it will, they will have to wait a year. In other legislation, there is an on-going struggle to change the way public schools are funded and I am hopeful something will get accomplished this year. There is one plan which involves 3 legislative bills that have been proposed on behalf of Governor Pillen. One bill, LB583 proposes a $1500 per student foundation aid that every school will receive and increases our Special Education reimbursement to 80%, outside the formula. Another bill, LB589 introduces a 3% cap on school spending. The third bill, LB681 creates an education endowment fund of $1 Billion and grows to $1.75Billion in 4 years. Another bill, LB320 proposed by Senator Brandt and written by school board president from Milford, Dave Welsch is excellent. LB320 moves agriculture land from 72% to 42% and residential and commercial land from 96% to 86% when calculating need in the TEOSSA formula and provides for a 10% basic funding. If you remember, the TEOSSA formula is how the State determines how much Equalization Aid a school gets by calculating Needs minus Resources equals State Equalization Aid. My hope is that all the bills will be combined in some manner. The 10% basic funding in LB320 calculates to about $1500 per student but would change each year as inflation moves. So, the 10% in LB320 is better than Pillen’s plan of a straight $1500 every year. The Special Education reimbursement would help all schools. Currently the State reimburses schools special education expenditures at about 46%, but the money received from the State is counted as Resource when calculating Needs minus Resources. So, by putting it outside of the formula, it will really help equalized districts with high special education costs. LB589 that proposes a 3% cap, which the Governor has said, that if it doesn’t pass, he won’t sign any of the three bills. The cap can be lifted with 75% of the school board or 60% of the registered voters. Other factors like Student Growth will be added to the 3%, which is good for growing districts. Lastly, the education endowment is something that has been needed for quite some time. In previous years, when the economy in Nebraska has been down, it was easy for the Legislation to reduce the money given to K-12 education by changing the TEOSSA formula. This endowment fund cannot be used for anything other than K-12 education. Because Cedar Bluffs is a high needs, low resource district we have always done well under the TEOSSA formula and with the reduction of Ag lands to 42% when calculating our resources in the TEOSSA formula (under LB320), this produces more State Equalization aid allowing us to reduce our levy by 20 cents versus the Pillen plan which really doesn’t help us other than the 80% SPED money that would allow about a 3 cents drop in our levy. This is why I am hoping LB320, or at least some aspects of LB320 are amended into the Pillen plan. The best scenario would be to get the 10% basic funding and the reduction of Ag land to 42% from LB320 and the Special Education reimbursement of 80% and the Endowment fund from the Pillen plan. 🤞 #Wildcat Pride!