Levy exemption for teachers’ voluntary terminations amended

Senators voted May 5 to return an omnibus education bill on the last stage of debate to select file so they could amend its proposed requirements for voluntary termination agreements for teachers.

As introduced by the Education Committee, LB512 was drafted to make several technical changes to education law. A committee amendment adopted on general file incorporated the provisions of several other education-related bills into LB512.

These included LB457, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, which would remove a budget and levy limitation exemption for the money a school district agrees to pay teachers and administrators in exchange for voluntary termination of employment.

A Briese amendment adopted on select file would — for fiscal year 2018-19 — exempt from budget and levy limits the amounts levied to pay for 75 percent of the funds used for voluntary termination agreements. That would decrease to 50 percent for FY2019-20 and 25 percent for FY2020-21.

Senators also had adopted an amendment on select file by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr that would allow school districts already at their maximum levy to exempt from budget and levy limitations up to $35,000 of payments for a teacher’s voluntary termination agreement that is not part of a collective bargaining agreement. The provision would not apply to administrators.

Later, on final reading, Harr said his amendment inadvertently left out a current requirement that school districts must demonstrate to the state board of education that the payment of incentives in exchange for a voluntary termination of employment will result in a net savings in salary and benefit costs to the district over a five-year period.

It also left out a requirement that districts report all incentives paid in exchange for voluntary terminations of employment on an annual financial report, which was not his intent, he said.

Harr filed a motion to return the bill to select file so he could introduce an amendment to include those requirements. The motion succeeded 40-0.

Senators then voted 42-0 to adopt the new amendment and advanced the bill to final reading on a voice vote.

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