LINCOLN — The Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties will continue and Nebraska will remain without charter schools.
The Legislature's Education Committee has decided those issues by voting unanimously to kill a pair of controversial bills.
State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha offered one of the measures, Legislative Bill 593, as part of his effort to address concerns about lagging student achievement and leadership problems in the Omaha Public Schools.
His bill would have allowed up to five charter schools in Omaha, which he said should be located east of 72nd Street.
He said the schools would offer alternatives to failing public schools.
State Education Commissioner Roger Breed strongly opposed the measure. Previous attempts to authorize charter schools in Nebraska also have failed.
Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion introduced the other measure, LB 179, to abolish the four-year-old Learning Community while freezing school district boundaries as they exist currently.
The measure drew support from Sarpy County senators and school superintendents, who have long objected to the Learning Community's common property tax levy.
Opponents included Learning Community and OPS officials.
Still alive, however, is a more modest proposal to revamp the Learning Community.
LB 585, introduced by Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, would cut the governing council to six members, all appointed by school boards. The council now has 18 members, of whom 12 are elected directly.
The bill would eliminate the 1-cent tax levy allowed for elementary learning centers, extended learning, family support and other programs aimed at helping students and families.
It also would redirect the Learning Community's 2-cent capital project levy into early childhood education programs and cut back on transportation for students using open enrollment.
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