School emergency expenditure bill advanced

Schools would be allowed to make emergency expenditures under a bill advanced from general file April 29.

Currently when there is a disaster, emergency or civil defense situation, local governments may make expenditures for emergency management purposes. LB283, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Roy Baker, would extend that authority to school districts and educational service units (ESUs).

Prior to making expenditures, a school district or ESU would be required to secure a certificate from the emergency management director serving the local jurisdiction in which the school or ESU is located.

As the former superintendent of the Norris School District, Baker said he had firsthand experience of the need for the bill. The district campus was struck by a tornado in May 2004 and suffered $35 million in damage, he said.

“The most important thing to remember here is that after an emergency—after a crisis such as we experienced¬—the need to move rapidly is the most important thing,” Baker said. Without an expedited process, he said, the district likely would not have been able to hold classes the following year.

Baker offered an amendment, adopted 33-0, which changed the word “certificate” to an emergency proclamation. He said some smaller counties do not use certificates.

LB283 advanced to select file 32-0.

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