Schools Still Using Tax Dollars To Pay For Lobbyists

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Nebraska's largest public schools are still using local tax dollars to pay for lobbyists at the state 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 counties 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.

2013 School District Spending On Lobbyists
Adams Central Public Schools - $11,117.87
Bellevue Public Schools - $60,200
Bennington Public Schools - $32,300
Columbus Public Schools - $11,250
Elkhorn Public Schools - $18,950
Fremont Public Schools - $20,000
Grand Island Northwest Public Schools - $11,079
Grand Island Public Schools - $30,000
Lakeview Community Schools - $6,080
Lincoln Public Schools - $45,086
Millard Public Schools - $66,079
Omaha Public Schools - $67,091
Papillion-La Vista School District - $27,200
Ralston Public School District - $28,416
Springfield Platteview Community Schools - $10,769
Westside Community Schools - $31,418

-Total spent by individual districts: $477,038

Regional Groups
Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy County - $24,345

-Total spent by Douglas, Sarpy districts and Learning Community: $366,769

Statewide Groups
Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council - $18,750
Nebraska Association of School Boards - $40,106
Nebraska Council of School Administrators - $92,295 (some dues paid through payroll deductions)
Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association - $27,700

Source: Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature

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