Hang on! Forecast is for Bumpy Legislative Session

Fasten your seat belt, it may be a bumpy ride this legislative session. Your retirement benefits, collective bargaining rights, support for improving your teaching skills and more will likely be up for debate by state senators.

A $900 million potential budget shortfall puts at risk funding for State Aid to K-12 schools, aid to the University of Nebraska, state and community colleges, and it paints a clear target on other educational programs such as support for the Master Teacher Program and National Board Certification.

As if that isn’t enough, other issues important to our public schools and teachers may be on the legislative agenda.

There is talk of changing the current retirement “Rule of 85” to a “Rule of 90” – along with other changes to important provisions in the School Employees Retirement System.  

The Governor has been signaling an interest in changes to collective bargaining statutes, while a bill eliminating payroll dues deduction may be introduced.

Certain to be offered: legislation authorizing charter schools, as well as private school vouchers – both schemes that would further reduce funding available for Nebraska’s public K-12 and higher education institutions.

NSEA President Nancy Fulton expects a busy, non-stop 90-day session over the next five months.

“To say that this session may be five months of fury is an understatement,” said Fulton. “We need all of our NSEA members to be watchful, alert and prepared to contact senators when asked.”