Support Our Schools ‘certain’ efforts will put school choice repeal on Nebraska ballot

Tuesday is the deadline to submit a petition repealing Nebraska LB 753.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A new law that would affect every Nebraska school student may be in jeopardy.

Tuesday marks the final day petitioners worked to gather signatures to repeal the new school voucher law in Nebraska.

That law, signed by Gov. Jim Pillen in May, provides $25 million in tax credits for private schools.

An effort to repeal a law and put it up to the voters such as this would require 60,000 signatures, per the Secretary of State’s office.

The Support Our Schools organization set a goal three months ago to hit 90,000.

Tim Royers, who will hand-deliver those signatures Wednesday in Lincoln, is confident they have enough.

“It was a monumental effort to say we had signatures from tens of thousands of people all over the state,” he said. “It was a massive effort to get it done.”

The Support Our Schools campaign opposes tax credits for private schools in the state.

LB753 carved out $25 million for potential donors. They’ll receive dollar-for-dollar tax breaks for their donations.

Those in favor of the measure say the money will provide scholarships and give parents more options for their children’s education.

“There’s kids today who are getting turned down for scholarships, a lot of kids,” said State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn. “So now there shouldn’t be a reason to turn kids down.”

Proponents’ victory in May could be in jeopardy with a different win by SOS -- if the state confirms the number of signatures they say they received.

“We had thousands of people turn in petitions to be notarized,” said Royers.

Tuesday was the final day of signature collection for Support Our Schools.

“It’s not an effort to sign our petition in order to repeal this immediately,” said Kathy Poehling with the Omaha Education Association. “It’s ‘sign this petition in order to get it on the ballot to let voters decide whether or not this should be passed.’”

6 News asked if the campaign has a Plan B should the effort fail.

“It won’t fail because it’s not going to fail,” Royers said. “And it’s not going to fail because we’ve had a really rigorous vetting process that we’ve done for the entire three months.…we’re not guessing what signatures are valid and are not valid. We’ve brought in experts to help us in that process. We’ve checked every signature. So when I tell you this is getting on the ballot, it’s 100% certain. There is not a plan B because we have met our goal and we know we have more than enough valid signatures that we’ll be turning in tomorrow.”

If enough signatures are validated, the issue will go on the ballot for the 2024 election.