January 25, 2021
RE: Support of LB 135
Chairman Walz and members of the Education Committee
Good afternoon members of the Education committee. My name is Colby Coash and I am here today representing the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB). I also have the honor of representing several other groups including the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA), the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA), the Nebraska Rural Schools Association (NRCSA), the Greater Nebraska Schools Association (GNSA), the Educational Service Units Coordinating Council (ESUCC), Stand for Schools, and Schools Taking Action for Nebraska Children’s Education (STANCE). This wide ranging coalition of educators and educational leadership in support of LB 135 illustrates how impactful this bill is to Nebraska schools.
As I work with districts of all sizes and in all parts of Nebraska, there is one theme that is consistent. The number of children needing special education is increasing and the needs of those children is increasing as well. As a result, the cost of educating special education students has grown. The percent of a districts budget dedicated to special education is growing, and in some districts special education budgets can and have grown by 20% in one year. It simply costs more to educate special education students. While the medical world has evolved in their identification of special education students, the education world has not kept pace with the funding needed to provide resources to the increasing number of students needing services. Preparing all students for citizenship after graduation is becoming increasingly difficult as fiscal needs increase and federal investments remain limited. The fiscal impact and savings to all property taxpayers cannot be overstated. A greater participation in the cost of Special Education by the State would directly impact property tax payers.
In closing, LB 135 enjoys broad support because it is a measure that supports all special education students in all districts across the State. For that reason, we collectively encourage you to advance LB 135.
Associate Executive Director/Director of Government Relations