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Good News! My priority bill, LB 432, has made it out of committee and is now in General File. LB 432 is the bill I introduced readers to last week, which will remove budgeting for delinquent taxes. This bill will give property owners some property tax relief.
Last week we also had a public hearing on my bill LB 568. LB 568 is a bill which creates a new temporary substitute teacher certificate. This idea came to me and was supported by 20 superintendents in the Panhandle, including Travis Miller of the Bayard Public School District who traveled all the way to Lincoln to testify in favor of the bill at the Capitol. Bayard Public Schools should be very proud of the commitment of Mr. Miller.
Many of the schools in western Nebraska are hard pressed to find enough substitute teachers to adequately staff their schools throughout the year. As a result, principals and even superintendents sometimes find themselves teaching classes. I was asked by our superintendents to do two things: lower the educational requirements and extend the length of time that a substitute teacher may teach.
After looking at the requirements for substitute teachers in some of our neighboring states, I decided that Wyoming’s certificate provided the best model for my bill. South Dakota has no educational requirements for substitute teachers, while Colorado requires a bachelor’s degree. Wyoming, on the other hand, requires the minimum of a high school diploma. Although my bill lowers the educational requirements for substitute teachers to the minimum of a high school diploma, individual school districts are not obligated to abide by these minimum standards.
LB 568 extends the number of days that a substitute teacher may teach in a school district from 45 days to 90 days. After I introduced LB 568, the Department of Education decided to extend the old certificate out from 45 days of teaching within a school district out to 90 days as well. So, even if LB 568 never becomes a law, our western schools will find some relief next year.
I also included Wyoming’s requirement of passing two constitutional exams. LB 568 requires applicants to take a course and pass an exam on both the United States Constitution and the Nebraska Constitution. I am happy to report that these two requirements were never challenged during the public hearing on the bill.
Additional requirements for my new Temporary Substitute Teacher Certificate include that an applicant must: Be 21 years of age or older, complete 24 hours of in-service training, complete 30 hours of classroom observation, submit to fingerprinting for a background check, complete the application and pay the required fee of $80.00.
Finally, Don Stenberg, the Nebraska State Treasurer, is holding $170 million for 350,000 Nebraskans in unclaimed property. In order to get your unclaimed property you will have to submit a claim. To check to see if your name is on the list, please visit www.treasurer.nebraska.gov and click on the unclaimed property tab, or you may call my office at (402) 471-2616 and my staff will check to see if your name is on the list.