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Last week brought the clearing of a major hurdle, with an amended version of LB 585 being advanced by the Education Committee for consideration by the full Legislature. LB 585 is the bill I introduced to address the deficiencies of the Learning Community. The seven votes to advance the bill came after weeks of negotiations with Education Committee members.
As amended, LB 585 reduces the overall levy authority of the Learning Community and ensures allocation of funds to early childhood education for children in poverty. Studies show investing in early childhood education significantly improves the long-term academic success of students. In its amended form, the bill reduces transportation costs by eliminating the requirement that school districts pay for transportation if a student is transferring within a district or to a district that is not contiguous to his or her own district. This allows more money to go directly to the classroom.
Most importantly, the advancement of LB 585 will provide an opportunity for the full Legislature to discuss the Learning Community. There has not been an in-depth discussion on the floor of the Legislature regarding the Learning Community since the early years of its existence, and a majority of the body had not yet taken office when the Learning Community was put in place. I look forward to familiarizing my colleagues with the issue as we debate the benefits of this legislation.