Leanna criticizes Education Committee for lack of panhandle public hearing

Scotts Bluff County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Leanna this morning criticized the Nebraska Legislature's Education Committee for failing to schedule a public hearing on public school financing in the Nebraska panhandle. The committee is holding hearings on four days next month, with the nearest site to the panhandle Sandhills High School in Dunning, 205 miles from Scottsbluff and Chadron and 247 miles from Kimball; a drive of 3 ½ to 4 hours.

Leanna says "I am extremely disappointed that the Education Committee didn't feel the need to hear from citizens in the Nebraska Panhandle about their opinions on public school financing." He added, "Perhaps the Committee needs to go back to 4th grade and learn about the geography of Nebraska."

Leanna indicated that "with the exception of Senator Davis, each of the other Senators lives no more than 86 miles from at least one hearing location."

During a public forum Monday hosted by the Legislature's Tax Modernization Committee, ranchers and ag producers were adamant that the current K-12 state aid funding formula needs to be changed and simplified. Those testifying also said there was too much reliance on property taxes to fund local education.

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