Omnibus education bill approved

Senators passed a proposal April 11 that updates the Nebraska Career Scholarship Act and includes several other education-related measures.

Sen. Dave Murman
Sen. Dave Murman

LB1329, as introduced by Glenvil Sen. Dave Murman, updates the Nebraska Career Scholarship Act by transferring its administration from the state Department of Economic Development to the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.

The bill expands the definition of “first-time freshman” to include dual enrollment graduates, updates scholarship eligibility to a 3.0 GPA or higher and aligns reporting with census data to consider all eligible programs, retention and graduation data.

LB1329 also modifies language regarding State Board of Education policies on truancy and allows school boards to determine the length of behavioral intervention training for employees.

Included in the bill are provisions of Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer’s LB1399, which permit certain school districts to authorize security personnel and off-duty law enforcement to carry firearms on school grounds and at school-sponsored activities.

Participating school districts are required to have a written policy regarding qualifications, training and the appropriate use of force. The provision does not apply to public elementary or secondary schools in Class III, IV or V school districts.

Other measures included in LB1329 are:
● LB231, introduced by Lincoln Sen. George Dungan, which directs school districts to provide written communication to parents or guardians regarding excessive absences;
● LB550, introduced by Sen. Beau Ballard of Lincoln, which allows K-12 students to attend a public school outside their district once in elementary, middle school and high school, for a total of three times before graduation;
● LB673, introduced by Blair Sen. Ben Hansen, which provides grants to schools that adopt a policy to provide emergency response mapping data to law enforcement agencies;
● LB855, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad, which prohibits school districts from contracting with a collection agency to assess or collect interest, fees or other monetary penalties for outstanding debts on a student’s school lunch or breakfast account;
● LB962, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, which requires public schools to exclusively use the Gall-Peters or AuthaGraph projection map for teaching purposes in the classroom;
● LB1012, sponsored by Fremont Sen. Lynne Walz, which allows the Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund to be used for abatement projects to address school safety infrastructure concerns; and
● LB1385, introduced by Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha, which streamlines the approval application process for teaching certificates and creates reciprocity among states for their issuance.

Senators passed LB1329 on a 40-0 vote.

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