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Kathy Kennedy of KLK Consulting, an education consultant who has contracted with the Nebraska Department of Education, is shown with, clockwise from her left, Schuyler Central High Principal Stephen Grammer, the State Department of Education’s Shirley Vargas, Mark Brady with Educational Service Unit 7 and Assistant Principal Jim Kasik.

Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt is right to open up the process so that Nebraska consultants will be considered for contracts to help struggling schools.

The state currently uses a North Carolina-based consulting firm that has received almost $1 million from the state over three years.

The state has intervened in four priority schools since 2015: Druid Hill Elementary, Loup County Elementary, Santee Middle School and Schuyler Central High School.

After meeting state goals, Druid Hill was delisted in 2017, and the State Board of Education voted this month to delist Loup County Elementary, as well — positive signs that the state’s intervention is helping.

It’s possible that consultants will be phased out eventually, leaving such efforts to department staff, but Blomstedt says state salary limits have precluded him from hiring additional employees for the work.

The main consultant, who is paid at $4,000 a day, has expertise in this field. But it serves the public interest for Nebraska agencies to always look for the most cost-efficient ways to provide services.

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