The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

Bill gives private schools tax money

Info from Governor Jim Pillen

Named the “Opportunity Scholarships Act,” LB753 was signed into law by Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen May 30, 2023 and is supposed to give private schools public tax dollars.

According to the office of Governor Pillen, “LB753 commits $50 million in tax credits for scholar- ships to kids across Nebraska with priority for scholarships going to kids who live in poverty, foster care, experience bullying, harassment, or other victimizing behaviors, or have a parent or guardian who is serving in the military.”

Proponents of the law say that it offers school choice, while those against it say that it takes money away from public schools. One person in opposition to the law is the president of the Millard Education Association, Tim Royers.

“We don’t want to see any kind of legislation that replicates public dollars should be going to our public schools to any kind of private school, charter school, any kind like that,” Royers said. “The biggest concern we have seen many other states go down this path and it just starts to drain resources from our school.”

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Private schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools. While public schools cannot discriminate and deny enrollment, private schools can reject students because of their sexual orientation, or other criteria.

“So that’s the other thing is schools can actively deny admission to someone because they are gay, for example. There was an example of a Lutheran school in Omaha that told a family that their son would not be a good fit in their school because their son’s gay,” Royers said.

Sophomore Gianna Carranza, went to a Catholic school before coming to East. She said that she enjoyed public school better than private school.

“There’s more drama at private schools because it is tinier and everyone knows everything about you,” Carranza said. “It’s not the best environment for mental health.”

Along with the other concerns, Royers is concerned about budget cuts. The Millard school district has experienced funding cuts in the past few years.

“In the 4 of the last 6 years, we’ve gotten cuts in our state funding, not improvements,” Royers said. “We would say, ‘hey why don’t you strengthen the resources going to our public schools so that way we can hire the staff we need to give the kids the support they need?”

Through the Support Our Schools initiative, the Nebraska Education Association teachers union gathered enough signatures to get LB753 on the 2024 ballot for a veto vote.

“I would just say this, especially because I would imagine you’ll have some folks who would potentially read this be able to vote next year,” Royers said. “We’re lucky in Nebraska that not every state has the ability to do this , the ability to a bill that has been past the legislation and then say we actually don’t think that’s right and then basically have a citizens’ veto where the citizens get to ultimately decide if a bill should stick around or not.”

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Lucy Cook, Co-editor in Chief
Hello, my name is Lucy, and I’m the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Tom Tom. I’m a manager for both football and boys’ basketball teams. In my free time, I like to listen to music, dance, and watch shows, such as Falling Into Your Smile and Bad Buddy. I raise 4 chickens in my backyard.

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