Public schools groups tout suite of bills promoting early childhood, special education
Advocates of public education touted a slew of bills being pushed by state senators Monday, saying the programs would be an investment in the state’s future economy and workforce.
A total of nine bills were highlighted by Stand for Schools during a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda, targeting state and federal funds for special education, early childhood, career education, behavioral health and school nutrition programs across the state.
“Important investments don’t come for free, but the state’s budget is a reflection of its priorities,” said Ann Hunter-Pirtle, executive director of Stand for Schools, which organized Monday’s rally. “These are the best investments we can make.”
Those priorities include:
A proposal by Sen. Rick Kolowski of Omaha would boost the reimbursement rate for costs associated with running special-education programs to 80 percent. In recent years, the state has reimbursed roughly 50 percent of the additional special-education costs accrued by districts. This year that reimbursement will top $224 million.