Report: Neb. School District Lobbying Increasing

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, May 21, 2012

Nebraska public schools spent more than $457,000 last year on lobbying legislators, an amount that has increased recently despite a law that bans the use of state money for district lobbying.

The report by the open-government group Common Cause Nebraska, given to The Associated Press before its formal release, shows the amount spent has increased from $407,683 in 2008. The 16 districts that spent money on lobbyists in 2011 include the state's largest, according to Common Cause Nebraska, which has pushed to stop the use of state and local tax dollars for lobbying.

Some claim the money spent by larger districts with bigger budgets creates an unfair advantage over smaller districts that can't afford a regular lobbyist in Lincoln.

Crete Public Schools Superintendent Kyle McGowan said Friday that he can reach lawmakers to talk about his district's concerns, but schools with a lobbyist can talk to lawmakers more frequently and seek changes that help their funding. State money makes up half of his 1,850-student district's $19 million budget.

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