Private school scholarship program approved

Senators passed a bill April 18 that will provide millions in state dollars to fund private school scholarships following a successful cloture vote.

Sen. Lou Ann Linehan
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan

LB1402, sponsored by Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, requires the state treasurer to establish a program to provide scholarships to eligible students to pay costs associated with attending a qualified school.

A qualified school is defined as any nongovernmental, privately operated nonprofit elementary or secondary school that complies with certain federal anti-discrimination provisions and fulfills the applicable accreditation or approval requirements established by the State Board of Education.

The bill appropriates $10 million in general funds in fiscal year 2024-25 and FY2025-26 to the state treasurer to carry out the program. The treasurer may contract with a third party to administer the program and up to 7.5% of the funds appropriated may be used for administrative expenses.

LB1402 outlines eligibility requirements for students and contains a priority ranking system for scholarship distribution. Individual scholarships are limited to 75% of the statewide average general fund expenditure for public school students.

The state treasurer will report annually to the governor and the Legislature regarding the number of scholarships awarded, the number of students currently wait-listed, recipients’ demographic data and other information.

LB1402 also repeals the Opportunity Scholarships Act, passed by the Legislature in 2023.

Following a successful cloture motion, an initial vote on the bill’s passage fell one vote short of the 33 needed for it to take effect immediately. Pursuant to the rules of the Legislature, a second vote was taken and LB1402 passed on a vote of 32-14. The measure will take effect in three calendar months as a result.

Bookmark and Share