NASB's Legislative Agenda
NASB's legislative agenda is developed annually by submissions from our members, and brought forward to the Delegate Assembly for approval. All submission must align with the following beliefs that:
- All Nebraska children shall have equitable access to a high quality public education that prepares them to thrive in the evolving 21st century.
- Schools and communities need to address the whole child, which includes the physical, developmental, behavioral, and mental health of children.
- Local school boards must have the resources and authority to serve ALL children.
- Local school boards shall have board governance standards that address the role and expectations of individual school board members and the board as a whole.
- Local school boards must have the ability to evaluate the effectiveness and fiscal solvency of the programs established by the district.
- Local school boards need to adequately support its administration and staff and hold them accountable.
- Local school boards must have maximum flexibility to govern their schools.
- Local school boards must engage the community and be responsive to the needs, desires and concerns of their families to ensure student success.
- Nebraska public schools must have adequate, predictable and equitable funding.
- The NASB board, staff and members have a responsibility to lead a vision for education in the state of Nebraska to promote these beliefs.
To have a say in future legislation, send us your Legislative Submissions. Submissions for the upcoming year are due July 1, but ideas are accepted for future consideration year round:
Colby Coash | Nebraska Association of School Boards
1311 Stockwell Street | Lincoln, NE 68502
*You may also contact NASB for assistance in drafting your Board’s proposals.
Have something that you feel “... ought to be a law” regarding public education in Nebraska, submit it for consideration at HTTP://WWW.NASBONLINE.ORG/REGISTRATIONS/PROPOSEDRESOLUTION.ASPX
NASB's Legislative Resolutions & Standing Positions
. . . as approved by the Legislation Committee on July 21, 2018
. . . and approved by the Board of Directors on August 11, 2018
. . . and adopted by the Delegate Assembly on November 16, 2018
The statements below represent a set of belief statements which guide NASB’s government relations efforts. These words guide our lobbying efforts at the State Capitol, with the State Board of Education and NDE, as well as with our representatives in Washington, D.C. While this work represents an effort to describe an issue or condition to be addressed, rarely is a bill written in such plain language. Actual legislative bills are a blend of several ideas (or perhaps a good idea, and a substantial price tag). Hence, when NASB analyzes how we will testify on a bill, we take into account a number of factors, including regular reviews by the Legislation Committee which offer guidance on the course corrections necessary to navigate the turbulent amendment process.
Resolutions are statements of intended and desired legislative action on items of current needs or problems. Resolutions are in effect for one year and direct the organization and its staff in their legislative efforts with each annual session of the Legislature. All resolutions submitted are presented for consideration and action. The Delegate Assembly shall receive, consider, and act upon legislative resolution proposals submitted to it by the Legislation Committee and the Board of Directors.
Standing positions are statements of policy and purpose which are developed and maintained over time. They are considered annually by the Delegate Assembly, and remain in effect until they are actively removed.
NASB's Legislative Resolutions for 2019
Conflict of Interest
NASB will support legislation to eliminate any potential conflict of interest problems with NASB board members and their votes on their local board.
Creating a vision for Nebraska’s future:
NASB will lead and support the creation of a vision that revises tax policy and invests state resources for Nebraska’s future.
Education Program Opportunities
NASB believes that each student should have access to a challenging instructional program which is relevant and prepares him or her for work or further education.
Expand Use of Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund
NASB supports the expansion of the Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund to include modifications for student and staff security including cyber security.
Funding of Mandated Programs
NASB urges full funding by the state and federal governments at statutory levels of all programs, standards, activities, and services mandated to public schools and ESUs by the Legislature and Congress, and further urges that any unfunded mandates allow authority for supplementary appropriations or outside levy lid funding.
Healthy Culture & Resiliency in Schools
NASB will support leveraging its infrastructure and resources to support a healthy culture in schools. NASB will align with others to develop “resilient” school districts with programs to support both staff and students.
NASB supports the concept that any legislative bill that limits financial resources, or requires additional financial resources, is done within a timeframe that will not negatively affect the school’s ability to prepare their budget.
Mental & Behavioral Health
NASB will support legislative efforts to provide services related to mental and behavioral health to school-age children across Nebraska.
Support of Early Childhood Programs in the Community
NASB will support early childhood education programs at the community level, which may include redefining economic development programs to include early childhood infrastructure development for communities and will support early childhood programs as an element in community comprehensive plans.
Support of the Collection and Use of Relevant Data
NASB encourages boards to use data to support its district strategic plan and goals. NASB supports collaborating with the state and other organizations in the collection and use of relevant data. NASB will identify data it can capture to help inform boards and, if necessary, support legislation to create data sources.
NASB's Standing Positions
Belief Statements for an Effective Board
NASB encourages boards of education to take part in board in-service and development programs and to budget funds for such programs. (1995)
NASB believes the service of school boardsmanship is fundamental to participatory democracy and deserves recognition collectively and individually from state and local communities. (prior to 1995)
Business and Education Partnerships
NASB encourages boards of education to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with business to ensure mutual understanding and cooperation.(1995)
Collaborative Services to Youth
NASB urges collaborative linkages between schools and other public and private agencies that serve children. (prior to 1995)
NASB believes that each board of education should create an administrative leadership team, which should include all supervisory and managerial employees including the superintendent and board members. (prior to 1995, amended 2007)
NASB urges boards of education to support partnerships between parents and schools that encourage parent involvement in the education process. (1997)
NASB considers it imperative that boards of education adopt clearly defined, flexible policies after input from the administration, parents, employees, and other interested parties. Policies, based on a clear understanding of the education process, should be thoroughly reviewed annually. The execution of policy is the responsibility of professional administrators and staff. (prior to 1995)
Conditions of Children
Abuse of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Other Drugs
NASB supports efforts by boards of education and state and national officials to strictly enforce policies regarding the sale, use or possession of illegal drugs including methamphetamine, marijuana, THC products and synthetic equivalents of THC and marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine products, vapor products (including e-cigarettes), and any products intended by appearance or effect to replicate tobacco products on school property. The designation of “drug free zones” near schools is also urged. (prior to 1995, amended 2015)
At-Risk Students and the Achievement Gap
NASB recognizes that there are many children and youth who are experiencing special difficulties in achieving high education standards. NASB supports increased funding to help close the gap in educational opportunity and educational achievement, and urges boards of education to work with, and obtain increased funding from the state Legislature, as well as state and federal education agencies to assist at-risk children and youth in making adequate educational progress. (prior to 1995, amended 2009)
Early Childhood Education
NASB supports quality early childhood education programs accessible to all children and advocates programs that provide age-appropriate activities to prepare children for school. (prior to 1995)
Enrollment Option; Homebound Students
NASB supports legislation stating that when an option student becomes homebound, the school district in which the student resides assumes full responsibility for educating the student. (1998, amended 2016)
Enrollment Option Limitation
NASB supports legislation returning option students to the resident school district if the option district must contract with another school district or agency for the educational services needed by the student. (1996, amended 2016)
Liability for Medication Administration
NASB supports legislation that would limit the liability of a school district and school district representatives for the administering of prescription medication to students. (1999, amended 2013, 2016)
Nutrition Education/Student Wellness
NASB believes that wellness programs for schools should emphasize healthy lifestyles and eating habits, mindful of all eating disorders, as well as obesity. (2004)
Safe School Environment
NASB supports efforts to provide a school environment that is free from weapons, harassment, bullying, violence, drugs (including alcohol and tobacco), and other factors which threaten the safety of students and staff. (1997, amended 2012)
Statewide Proverty/Trauma Funding
NASB recognizes the growing number of public school students across the state that are living in impoverished conditions and/or with traumatic experiences. NASB supports the use of research-based science to strengthen policy, program design and funding that targets those impacted by persistent poverty and/or trauma. (2017)
NASB supports student discipline as an essential, mutual responsibility of parents, teachers, and administrators, with final responsibility resting with school boards. (1999)
Curriculum & Instruction
Access to Equal Education Opportunities
NASB supports equal educational opportunities for all students, regardless of their race, wealth or family circumstance, and urges the Legislature, the State Department of Education, and boards of education to remove all barriers that may prevent any child from having full access to such education opportunities. (1995, amended 2009)
Achievement Test Score Use
NASB opposes the use of test scores for the comparison of school districts or for the ranking of schools. (1998)
Assessment of Student Learning
NASB supports multiple approaches to assess student learning, with decisions on assessment made at the local district level, and opposes a single “high-stakes” testing procedure. (2001)
NASB urges all boards of education to support and implement curriculum which recognizes cultural diversity and enhances the knowledge of students about various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. (prior to 1995)
Responding to Special Education Costs
NASB supports legislative efforts to give school districts that incur unforeseeable additional special education expenses assistance to alleviate cash flow problems. (2005)
NASB supports the authority of the local boards of education and school administration to regulate the content of school-sponsored publications and curriculum. (1997, amended 2009)
NASB supports equal access to current technology for all school districts so they may engage all students in the curriculum, to equip them for an increasingly technological society and job market, and to provide them greater access to education services. (prior to 1995)
Funding & Finance
Accounting of Funds
NASB supports transparent accounting and full disclosure of all funds received and expended for public education consistent with federal regulations. (2005)
Budget Lid: Growth Factor
NASB supports legislation which would establish an education expenditures “growth factor” which reflects the actual cost of providing a public education for school districts, learning communities, and ESUs. (2001, amended 2008)
Compensation for Statewide Standards & Assessments
NASB supports adequate funding to compensate school districts/ESUs for the cost of implementing and managing the statewide learning standards and assessments. (2008, amended 2009, 2013)
Elimination of Budget Reserve Limits
NASB supports legislation that eliminates reserve limitation in the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act and in debt service funds. (2000, amended 2001)
Elimination of Expenditure Limitation
NASB supports legislation eliminating the limitation on general fund expenditures. (2000, amended 2011)
ESU Core Services Funding
NASB supports legislation to adequately fund Educational Service Units in a manner that allows successful implementation of statewide educational initiatives that are developed by law in conjunction with the Nebraska Department of Education. (2009, amended 2015)
Financing Capital Improvements
NASB supports adequate funding for school districts and ESUs for maintenance or replacement of our rapidly deteriorating facilities. (1997, amended 2015)
NASB believes the Governor and Legislature must work together to create fiscal policy that will adequately fund public education statewide based upon the needs of students and not driven by a pre-set allocation of funds for education regardless of need. Nebraska demographics and student needs are dynamic, as are the changing education standards required to be competitive nationally and internationally. To meet this challenge, fiscal policy would be built upon a broad base with the lowest possible rates to provide stability in the tax base and revenue stream, provide local government with the tools to generate adequate financial resources, yet equalize financial support among taxpayers, and assure the principle of uniform assessment. (prior to 1995, amended 2009)
For-Profit Entities Operating in Tax-Exempt Zones
NASB supports legislation to ensure equitable tax payments by for-profit business ventures operating on publicly owned or otherwise exempt property. (2003)
Funding: School District Infrastructure, Site Purchases and Building Operating Expenses
NASB supports legislation that would provide an alternative to property taxes for financing facility development, maintenance, and operation. (2003)
General Fund Reserve Limit Exception
NASB supports legislation that would not allow school districts to be penalized or state aid to be adjusted, to a school disadvantage, when any type of error or correction is made in calculating the state aid formula. (1999, amended 2016)
Including Gifts, Donations, or Foundation Funds as Receivables
NASB opposes the inclusion of gifts, endorsements, donations, or foundation expenditures that are not regular operating expenses in the calculation of receivables in the state aid formula. (2000)
K-12 School Trust Land and Permanent School Fund
NASB opposes reduction of any assets of the school trust or diversion of the Permanent School Fund. (prior to 1995, amended 2010)
Legislative Review of Statutory Deadlines
NASB urges legislative review of the conflicting mandatory deadlines that affect school revenues and expenditures. (2011)
Property Tax Reform/Relief
Any legislative discussion on property tax and distribution of state aid should include participation from school board and ESU board members. (2015)
Revenue Reductions for School Districts Affected by Property Valuation Losses
NASB supports legislation that would create a hold harmless effect for districts which experience a decrease in valuation. (2004)
School District Options in Dealing with Large, Unanticipated Revenues
NASB supports legislation giving school boards options in dealing with large, unanticipated revenue increases in order to minimize fluctuations in state aid. (2000)
Special Building Fund Tax Levy Exclusion
NASB supports amending the Nebraska Statutes that address budgeting and spending lid restrictions to allow school districts the ability to utilize up to seven cents of the Special Building Fund tax levy outside of the budgeting and spending lid restriction so that districts can plan for and fund capital improvement projects, building repairs and upgrades, and school district infrastructure needs.
State Funding System
NASB supports a stable, predictable, equitable, and adequate statewide education funding system that honors the Legislature’s commitment to provide for free instruction in the common schools of this state, as guaranteed by the Nebraska Constitution, by prioritizing education funding in the state budget, and that:
- Invests in the education of all Nebraska public school children;
- Establishes a state fund or funding mechanism that assists Nebraska public schools with the costs of maintaining and
- Reduces our dependence on local property taxes by drawing revenue from multiple funding sources;
- Promotes the responsibility of locally elected school boards to make sound, transparent school budget decisions;
- Provides funding in a timely and predictable manner;
- Includes the principle of equalization;
- Funds the total excess allowable costs for special education and support services; and
- Recognizes that a long-term solution to education funding will require an ongoing, collaborative effort to execute a
vision and strategic plan to grow and diversify our economy.
(1997, amended 2009, amended 2018)
Use of a Uniform Valuation Calculation to Determine Local Resources and State Aid
NASB supports a property tax assessment system that utilizes uniform accounting practices to determine the property valuation number from which local and state officials can calculate both the local resources available to fund schools from property taxes, and the resulting calculation of state aid payments to school districts. (2003)
Vouchers and Tax Credits
NASB opposes any attempt to amend or circumvent the Nebraska and United States Constitutions to permit the use of public funds for the support, either direct or indirect, of schools not controlled by the public at large. NASB opposes any state or federal legislation allowing either tax credits or vouchers for children, or the parents or guardians of children attending nonpublic schools.
Governance & Structure
NASB believes that boards of education are accountable to students, parents, taxpayers, and employees for providing education programs, striving for education excellence, identifying education needs, adopting clearly defined written policies, measuring the success of instruction programs, and interpreting and disseminating information to the public through a public relations plan. (prior to 1995)
NASB opposes legislation that would mandate the formation of an allied system of school districts. (2014, amended 2016)
Amend Open Meetings Act for Evaluations
NASB supports legislation to allow boards to go into executive session to discuss superintendent evaluations and/or for the narrowing down of superintendent candidates. (2017)
Authority of School Boards
NASB supports the authority of boards of education to effectively govern and execute their statutory responsibilities. (1997, amended 2015)
NASB believes that any charter schools, or the like, involved with any aspect of K-12 education be authorized by a public school district, be located within the boundaries of such public school district and be accountable to the authorizing district for their student achievement, finances and operations. (1998, amended 2015)
Duties of Schools
NASB believes that the primary function of Nebraska schools should be the education of students and that the Legislature should be discouraged from placing duties on school districts which are not directly related to education. (prior to 1995)
Educational Service Unit Governance
NASB supports governance of ESUs by elected boards and supports local determination of specific mechanisms of that governance. (2005)
Educational Service Unit Reorganization
NASB supports the continuation of ESUs as an effective means of delivering educational services to school districts and their students. Any reforms would provide for a statutory hold harmless provision in the distribution formula for Core Service funding when an Equity Unit reorganizes with any other ESU, and must be mindful of ESUs’ essential role of delivering direct services and being responsible to the local school districts they serve. (2004, amended 2005)
Interactive Remote Communication Technology (Televideo)
NASB urges the legislature to provide updated rules and procedures so patrons are able to readily testify at legislative hearings via televideo (interactive remote communication technology) on a regular, ongoing basis to allow for a more equitable opportunity for the public to participate in the legislative process. (2017)
NASB favors cooperation between school districts as well as ESUs to remove all barriers and penalties to promote orderly and voluntary reorganization into more efficient governing and administrative units to best serve the educational needs of Nebraska’s children. (prior to 1995, amended 2008, 2015, 2017)
NASB opposes unnecessary laws which make individual members of a governing board of a political subdivision personally liable for damage judgements which result from lawsuits filed against the political subdivision. (prior to 1995, amended 2015)
Restriction of Resources and Board Responsibilities
NASB supports legislation allowing local boards to function as elected officials and to continue to establish policies, including finance policies, as representatives of the constituents who elected them. (1997)
NASB supports direct involvement by boards of education in the governance and activities of the Nebraska School Activities Association. (prior to 1995)
NASB opposes state mandated uniform opening and closing dates for local school districts. (prior to 1995)
Professional Standards & Employee Relations
NASB opposes legislation that would require a separate written employment contract for coaching or any other activity assignment that would require that a person be notified by a specified date of the termination of an assignment for the following year. (1999)
NASB will support a concept of compensation for teachers which is not based solely upon the experience and education attainment of teachers as found on standard salary schedules. (1995)
Criminal Background Checks
NASB supports legislation which would aid public schools and ESUs in obtaining criminal background history information on prospective and current employees, and personnel provided through any contract service provider or anyone working on school property. (1999, amended 2006)
Employee Bonuses and Incentives
NASB supports legislation creating a comprehensive plan to recruit, retain and reward highly qualified individuals for teaching professions throughout the state, including offering incentives to encourage employees to sign a contract of employment. (2001, amended 2015)
NASB supports the concept of exploring alternatives to the costs of health insurance for the purpose of assuring the greatest allocation of our financial resources to education programs and services for children. (prior to 1995, amended 2003)
NASB urges local school boards to develop and implement programs which recognize individuals for significant accomplishments and community service, experience, and competency. (prior to 1995, amended 2014)
NASB supports legislation to assure a retirement system that is sound, adequate, and sustainable for school districts and ESUs. (prior to 1995, amended 2012)
Scope of Bargaining
NASB believes negotiations with employees should be limited to matters of employee salaries and fringe benefits, and opposes any attempt to broaden the scope of negotiations to include matters of policy and management rights. (prior to 1995)
Staff Development and Evaluation
NASB supports in-service training, enrichment programs, and continuing education for professional staff. Regular evaluations of performance, competency in the subject areas, and demonstrated ability to instruct or manage, in part as shown through student performance, should be conducted to promote professional growth. (1995)
NASB requests that there be board of education representatives on all government commissions, councils, and committees which could have an impact on local school district policy or finance. (1995)
Choice and Affiliation
NASB supports the concepts of choice and affiliation among public schools as a means to maximize education opportunity. NASB believes any such program should result in the least amount of disruption and uncertainty for the affected school districts. (1995)
Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities
NASB, and school board members, fully supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights and responsibilities embodied within it. NASB therefore supports education and behavior that teaches and models expression of these rights and responsibilities. (2009, amended 2015)
Corporate Sponsorships in Schools
NASB opposes restrictions on school districts’ ability to exercise their best judgment in entering into corporate sponsorship agreements. (2004)
Educational Service Units
NASB supports Educational Service Units as an effective and efficient means to provide educational services to local school districts. ESUs should be responsible to the local school boards they serve. (1997)
Guiding the P-16 Effort: 21st Century Skills
NASB urges state and local policymakers to forge a new working relationship in redesigning Nebraska’s public education system for the 21st century, with a focus on improving student achievement and holding each level of the system accountable, from preschool through post-secondary education or training, in a manner that:
- Promotes multi-level communication and interaction between all P-16 partners to enhance student academic success;
- Offers all students a rigorous developmentally-appropriate curriculum designed to provide opportunities and choice, regardless of the post-secondary path they choose;
- Engages the assets of the full community;
- Utilizes data and technology to individualize education for students and to incorporate new learning into the design;
- Closes the achievement gap by focusing on quality teaching and learning opportunities;
- Implements standards-based education fully in a seamless curriculum, so one level of the system builds on the next and the end result is known and understood from the beginning;
- Provides sufficient resources that are adequate and sustainable at every level of the system to meet the challenge, resisting unfunded or underfunded mandates;
- Preserves the ability of local school boards and their communities to address local needs and challenges in a flexible manner using a variety of options.
(2009, amended 2016)
Independent School Districts
NASB supports the independence of established PK-12 school districts and also supports the cooperation and equalization of opportunity among school districts within learning communities. NASB believes that any legislation introduced impacting school districts or learning communities should seek to give districts and learning communities equalized resources. Any legislation should also allow these independent districts to maintain their right to governance, district curriculum, and the allocation of resources. (2006, amended 2013)
Local Control for Public PK-12 Schools
NASB believes public PK-12 systems should be organized to serve communities throughout Nebraska without arbitrary size limits or a single model, which would not fit our state’s varied communities. NASB opposes legislating arbitrary size limits and will work to remedy such limits currently in statute. (2006, amended 2013)
Local District Advocacy
NASB supports the right and obligation of local school districts to advocate for legislative action that impacts their individual interests. (1996)
NASB opposes attempts by the legislature to preempt the statutory authority of the Nebraska State Board of Education to be the policy-forming, planning and evaluative body for Nebraska schools. (2017)
Nonpublic Schools Standards
NASB believes that nonpublic schools should have the same state standards as the public schools, including school approval, accreditation, teacher certification and endorsement, and safety standards. (prior to 1995)
Policy Leadership & Vision on the Future of Nebraska’s PK-12 Schools
NASB supports efforts to bring policy makers of the executive and legislative branches, educators, school boards, learning community coordinating councils, and ESU boards, and citizens together to determine the best course for the future delivery of PK-12 education to the students of the state. NASB boards emphasize increasing student achievement through governance structures that are clear, efficient, and controlled by the local district. (2003, amended 2008, 2010, 2013)