Article VII, Nebraska Constitution
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| Text of Section 1:
Legislature; Free Instruction in Common Schools; Provide
The Legislature shall provide for the free instruction in the common schools of this state of all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years. The Legislature may provide for the education of other persons in educational institutions owned and controlled by the state or a political subdivision thereof.
| Text of Section 2:
State Department of Education; General Supervision of School System
The State Department of Education shall be comprised of a State Board of Education and a Commissioner of Education. The State Department of Education shall have general supervision and administration of the school system of the state and of such other activities as the Legislature may direct.
| Text of Section 3:
State Board of Education; Members; Election; Manner of Election; Term of Office
The State Board of Education shall be composed of eight members, who shall be elected from eight districts of substantially equal population as provided by the Legislature. Their term of office shall be for four years each. Their duties and powers shall be prescribed by the Legislature, and they shall receive no compensation, but shall be reimbursed their actual expense incurred in the performance of their duties. The members of the State Board of Education shall not be actively engaged in the educational profession and they shall be elected on a nonpartisan ballot.
| Text of Section 4:
State Board of Education; Commissioner of Education; Appointment; Powers; Duties
The State Board of Education shall appoint and fix the compensation of the Commissioner of Education, who shall be the executive officer of the State Board of Education and the administrative head of the State Department of Education, and who shall have such powers and duties as the Legislature may direct. The board shall appoint all employees of the State Department of Education on the recommendation of the Commissioner of Education.
| Text of Section 5:
Fines, Penalties, and License Money; Allocation; Use of Forfeited Conveyances
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, all fines, penalties, and license money arising under the general laws of the state, except fines and penalties for violation of laws prohibiting the overloading of vehicles used upon the public roads and highways of this state, shall belong and be paid over to the counties respectively where the same may be levied or imposed, and all fines, penalties, and license money arising under the rules, bylaws, or ordinances of cities, villages, precincts, or other municipal subdivision less than a county shall belong and be paid over to the same respectively. All such fines, penalties, and license money shall be appropriated exclusively to the use and support of the common schools in the respective subdivisions where the same may accrue, except that all fines and penalties for violation of laws prohibiting the overloading of vehicles used upon the public roads and highways shall be placed as follows: Seventy-five per cent in a fund for state highways and twenty-five per cent to the county general fund where the fine or penalty is paid.
(2) Fifty per cent of all money forfeited or seized pursuant to enforcement of the drug laws shall belong and be paid over to the counties for drug enforcement purposes as the Legislature may provide.
(3) Law enforcement agencies may use conveyances forfeited pursuant to enforcement of the drug laws as the Legislature may provide. Upon the sale of such conveyances, the proceeds shall be appropriated exclusively to the use and support of the common schools as provided in subsection (1) of this section.
| Text of Section 6:
Educational Lands; Management; Board of Educational Lands and Funds; Members; Appointment; Sale of Lands
No lands now owned or hereafter acquired by the state for educational purposes shall be sold except at public auction under such conditions as the Legislature shall provide. The general management of all lands set apart for educational purposes shall be vested, under the direction of the Legislature, in a board of five members to be known as the Board of Educational Lands and Funds. The members shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to the approval of the Legislature, with such qualifications and for such terms and compensation as the Legislature may provide.
| Text of Section 7:
Perpetual Funds Enumerated
The following are hereby declared to be perpetual funds for common school purposes, including early childhood educational purposes operated by or distributed through the common schools, of which the annual interest or income only can be appropriated, to wit:
First. Such percent as has been, or may hereafter be, granted by Congress on the sale of lands in this state.
Second. All money arising from the sale or leasing of sections number sixteen and thirty-six in each township in this state, and the lands selected, or that may be selected, in lieu thereof.
Third. The proceeds of all lands that have been, or may hereafter be, granted to this state, where by the terms and conditions of such grant the same are not to be otherwise appropriated.
Fourth. The net proceeds of lands and other property and effects that may come to this state, by escheat or forfeiture, or from unclaimed dividends, or distributive shares of the estates of deceased persons.
Fifth. All other property of any kind now belonging to the perpetual fund.
| Text of Section 8:
Trust Funds Belong to State for Educational Purposes; Use; Investment
All funds belonging to the state for common school purposes, including early childhood educational purposes operated by or distributed through the common schools, the interest and income whereof only are to be used, shall be deemed trust funds. Such funds with the interest and income thereof are hereby solemnly pledged to the purposes for which they are granted and set apart and shall not be transferred to any other fund for other uses. The state shall supply any net aggregate losses thereof realized at the close of each calendar year that may in any manner accrue. Notwithstanding any other provisions in this Constitution, such funds shall be invested as the Legislature may by statute provide.
| Text of Section 9:
Educational Funds; Trust Funds; Use; Early Childhood Education Endowment Fund; Created; Use; Early Childhood Education, Defined
(1) The following funds shall be exclusively used for the support and maintenance of the common schools in each school district in the state or for early childhood education operated by or distributed through the common schools as provided in subsection (3) of this section, as the Legislature shall provide:
(a) Income arising from the perpetual funds;
(b) The income from the unsold school lands, except that costs of administration shall be deducted from the income before it is so applied;
(c) All other grants, gifts, and devises that have been or may hereafter be made to the state which are not otherwise appropriated by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise; and
(d) Such other support as the Legislature may provide.
(2) No distribution or appropriation shall be made to any school district for the year in which school is not maintained for the minimum term required by law.
(3)(a) An early childhood education endowment fund shall be created for the purpose of supporting early childhood education in this state as provided by the Legislature.
(b) An amount equal to forty million dollars of the funds belonging to the state for common school and early childhood educational purposes operated by or distributed through the common schools described in Article VII, section 7, of this Constitution shall be allocated for the early childhood education endowment fund.
(c) Only interest or income on such early childhood education endowment fund may be appropriated as provided by the Legislature for the benefit of the common schools and for the exclusive purpose of supporting early childhood education in this state.
(d) For purposes of Article VII of this Constitution, early childhood education means programs operated by or distributed through the common schools promoting development and learning for children from birth to kindergarten-entrance age.
(e) If the annual income from twenty million dollars of private funding is not irrevocably committed by July 1, 2011, to the use of the early childhood education endowment fund, then the forty-million-dollar allocation pursuant to subdivision (3)(b) of this section may revert to the use of the common schools as the Legislature shall determine.
| Text of Section 10:
University of Nebraska; Government; Board of Regents; Election; Student Membership; Terms
The general government of the University of Nebraska shall, under the direction of the Legislature, be vested in a board of not less than six nor more than eight regents to be designated the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, who shall be elected from and by districts as herein provided and three students of the University of Nebraska who shall serve as nonvoting members. Such nonvoting student members shall consist of the student body president of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the student body president of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the student body president of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The terms of office of elected members shall be for six years each. The terms of office of student members shall be for the period of service as student body president. Their duties and powers shall be prescribed by law; and they shall receive no compensation, but may be reimbursed their actual expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.
The Legislature shall divide the state, along county lines, into as many compact regent districts, as there are regents provided by the Legislature, of approximately equal population, which shall be numbered consecutively.
The Legislature shall redistrict the state after each federal decennial census. Such districts shall not be changed except upon the concurrence of a majority of the members of the Legislature. In any such redistricting, county lines shall be followed whenever practicable, but other established lines may be followed at the discretion of the Legislature. Whenever the state is so redistricted the members elected prior to the redistricting shall continue in office, and the law providing for such redistricting shall where necessary specify the newly established district which they shall represent for the balance of their term.
| Text of Section 11:
Appropriation of Public Funds; Handicapped Children; Sectarian Instruction; Religious Test of Teacher or Student
Notwithstanding any other provision in the Constitution, appropriation of public funds shall not be made to any school or institution of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the state or a political subdivision thereof; Provided, that the Legislature may provide that the state or any political subdivision thereof may contract with institutions not wholly owned or controlled by the state or any political subdivision to provide for educational or other services for the benefit of children under the age of twenty-one years who are handicapped, as that term is from time to time defined by the Legislature, if such services are nonsectarian in nature.
All public schools shall be free of sectarian instruction.
The state shall not accept money or property to be used for sectarian purposes; Provided, that the Legislature may provide that the state may receive money from the federal government and distribute it in accordance with the terms of any such federal grants, but no public funds of the state, any political subdivision, or any public corporation may be added thereto.
A religious test or qualification shall not be required of any teacher or student for admission or continuance in any school or institution supported in whole or in part by public funds or taxation.
| Text of Section 12:
Education and Reform of Minors
The Legislature may provide by law for the establishment of a school or schools for the safe keeping, education, employment and reformation of all children under the age of eighteen years, who, for want of proper parental care, or other cause, are growing up in mendicancy or crime.
| Text of Section 13:
State Colleges; Government; Board; Name; Selection; Duties; Compensation
The general government of the state colleges as now existing, and such other state colleges as may be established by law, shall be vested, under the direction of the Legislature, in a board of seven members to be styled as designated by the Legislature, six of whom shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Legislature, two each for a term of two, four, and six years, and two each biennium thereafter for a term of six years, and the Commissioner of Education shall be a member ex officio. The duties and powers of the board shall be prescribed by law, and the members thereof shall receive no compensation for the performance of their duties, but may be reimbursed their actual expenses incurred therein.
| Text of Section 14:
Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education; Membership; Powers and Duties; Coordination, Defined
On January 1, 1992, there shall be established the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education which shall, under the direction of the Legislature, be vested with the authority for the coordination of public postsecondary educational institutions. Public postsecondary educational institutions shall include each postsecondary educational campus or institution which is governed by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges, any board or boards established for the community colleges, or any other governing board for any other public postsecondary educational institution which may be established by the Legislature.
Coordination shall mean:
(1) Authority to adopt, and revise as needed, a comprehensive statewide plan for postsecondary education which shall include (a) definitions of the role and mission of each public postsecondary educational institution within any general assignments of role and mission as may be prescribed by the Legislature and (b) plans for facilities which utilize tax funds designated by the Legislature;
(2) Authority to review, monitor, and approve or disapprove each public postsecondary educational institution's programs and capital construction projects which utilize tax funds designated by the Legislature in order to provide compliance and consistency with the comprehensive plan and to prevent unnecessary duplication; and
(3) Authority to review and modify, if needed to promote compliance and consistency with the comprehensive statewide plan and prevent unnecessary duplication, the budget requests of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges, any board or boards established for the community colleges, or any other governing board for any other public postsecondary educational institution which may be established by the Legislature.
The Legislature may provide the commission with additional powers and duties related to postsecondary education as long as such powers and duties do not invade the governance and management authority of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges as provided in the Constitution of Nebraska, Article VII, sections 10 and 13. The Legislature may provide that coordination of the community colleges by the commission pursuant to this section may be conducted through a board or association representing all the community colleges.
Nothing in this section providing for statewide coordination shall limit or require the use of property tax revenue by and for community colleges.
The commission shall consist of eleven members, residents of the state or the districts for which appointed, who shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of a majority of the Legislature. Six of the members shall be chosen from six districts of approximately equal population and five shall be chosen on a statewide basis.
The terms of the members of the commission shall be six years or until a successor is qualified and takes office, except that of the members initially appointed, four members shall serve for terms of two years and four members shall serve for terms of four years. The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for the performance of their duties but may be reimbursed their actual and necessary expenses.
| Text of Section 15:
| Text of Section 16:
Repealed 1972. Laws 1972, LB 1023, sec. 1.
| Text of Section 17:
Repealed 1972. Laws 1972, LB 1023, sec. 1.