Nebraska's largest public schools are still using local tax dollars to pay for lobbyists at the Capitol, and more than three-fourths of that money is coming from districts in the Omaha area.
An Associated Press analysis of lobbying reports finds that school districts paid more than $477,000 last year to lobbyists, in addition to membership fees for statewide education groups. Of the money from individual districts last year, nearly $366,800 was spent by those in Douglas and Sarpy County and the Omaha area's Learning Community.
Schools have continued to retain lobbyists despite a 2011 change in Nebraska's school-funding formula that prevents them from using state aid to cover the cost. Jack Gould of the group Common Cause Nebraska says it gives bigger schools an unfair advantage over smaller ones.