School Merger Hearing

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Before a packed Education Committee in the legislature Nebraskans had their say about a plan to merge some schools.

The bill, by Lincoln Senator Ron Raikes, would require elementary only schools to merge with K-12 districts.

Dan Busar said in Plattsmouth schools he didn’t feel like his children were encouraged to excel. He also wasn’t happy with funding issues.

“I was shocked to find that because we live in a class 1 district this state condones taxation without representation. We are not allowed to hold a school board position in Plattsmouth Community Schools which most of our school taxes support,” Busar said.

Plattsmouth Superintendent Renee Jacobson also supports the plan.

“We have more poverty. We have more limited English but fewer dollars per students. That fact raises some uncomfortable questions about equality,” she said.

Opponents also had their say. Elizabeth Evans said the size of a school does matter.

“I am a firm believer that big is not better. Our principal previously worked in two large Class C schools. He often talked of spending time dealing with discipline issues. He now speaks of spending time working on curriculum improvement and school improvement,” said Evans.

Another parent said he had more questions than answers.

“I was not impressed with the depth of research used to develop this bill. The interim study could not tell us how we are going to save money or lower taxes. It could not tell us how we are going to disseminate those savings,” said Matt Nessetti.

There are 241 elementary only schools. The proposal would not require that any school building close. Local school boards would make the choice about consolidation.