Public education in Nebraska
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Nebraska
Public education in Nebraska
School board elections portal
|“||To lead and support the preparation of all Nebraskans for learning, earning, and living.||”|
The Nebraska State Board of Education is an elected, constitutional body that oversees the Nebraska Department of Education. It is a nonpartisan body that has members from each district. Board members serve four-year terms and are not paid except for expense reimbursements.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. As of 2014, Nebraska had not adopted these standards.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Nebraska compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Nebraska as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Nebraska's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||355||0.12%||0.42%|
|Two or More||9,211||3.06%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A plurality of students in Nebraska attend city schools. Students in the state are next most likely to attend rural schools. This is different from neighboring states (Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota), whose students are most likely to attend rural students and then either city or town schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota), Nebraska had a greater percentage of students score at or above proficient in math and reading in fourth grade than South Dakota, but a lower percentage compared to Iowa and Kansas.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Nebraska was lower than the national average at 2.1 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 2.2 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Nebraska
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Nebraska state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 15.3 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is up 0.5 percentage points, a 3.4 percent increase in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 14.8 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Over half of Nebraska's education revenue comes from local funding. State funding accounts for just over 30 percent, and federal funding accounts for about 15 percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Nebraska totaled approximately $3.8 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Nebraska and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Nebraska totaled approximately $3.7 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Nebraska and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Nebraska, the average salary increased by 7.7 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Nebraska ranked 26th overall, or average, which was in the third tier of five.
The main union related to the Nebraska school system is the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA). The NSEA is the largest education association in the state.
List of local Nebraska school unions:
- See also: Nebraska government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Nebraska Association of School Boards.
Nebraska Spending is a publicly available website created by the Nebraska government. It discloses information about how the state spends taxpayer dollars and includes data on agency expenditures and contracts. Nebraska Spending was created at the initiative of State Treasurer Shane Osborn in July 2007.
Studies and reports
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report U.S. Data
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 used six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Nebraska received a score of 83.1, or a B average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. The state's highest score, excluding the general "chance for success" category, was in school finance, at 77.0, or a C+ average. The lowest score was in transitions and alignment, at 64.3, or a D average. Nebraska had the highest score for the school finance category compared to surrounding states. The chart below displays the scores of Nebraska and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Nebraska||83.1 (B)||67.0 (D+)||67.6 (D+)||69.8 (C-)||77.0 (C+)||64.3 (D)|
|Iowa||84.2 (B)||67.3 (D+)||74.5 (C)||78.7 (C+)||73.8 (C)||82.1 (B-)|
|Kansas||81.9 (B-)||68.4 (D+)||81.2 (B-)||67.4 (D+)||74.2 (C)||75.0 (C)|
|South Dakota||79.6 (B-)||63.2 (D)||73.0 (C)||60.8 (D-)||68.2 (D+)||64.3 (D)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
- See also: School board elections portal
- Class II districts are located in an area with a population below 1,000.
- Class III districts are located in an area with a population between 1,000 and 149,999.
- Class IV districts are located in an area with a population of 100,000 or more in primary cities.
- Class V districts are located in an area with a population of 200,000 or more in metropolitan cities.
- Unified districts are mergers of two or more Class II or III districts. This merger must last at least three years and may be permanent. The board is made up of board members from the participating school districts. The merged districts are still legally independent but they share resources.
- Educational service unit districts provide specialized support services to other districts.
- See also: List of school districts in Nebraska
|Student enrollment||Per-pupil spending per ADA|
|1.) Omaha||1.) Sioux County|
|2.) Lincoln||2.) Bruning-Davenport Unified|
|3.) Millard||3.) Santee|
|4.) Papillion-La Vista||4.) Wheeler|
|5.) Bellevue||5.) Umo N Ho N Nation|
|6.) Grand Island||6.) Coleridge|
|7.) Westside||7.) Cody-Kilgore|
|8.) Elkhorn||8.) Exeter-Milligan|
|9.) Kearney||9.) Keya Paha County|
|10.) Fremont||10.) Shickley|
School board composition
Nebraska school board members are elected by residents of the school district. Nebraska school board elections typically follow one of these two methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- District: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
School board sizes and term lengths depend on the type of school district. Class II district boards have six members who serve four-year terms. Class III district boards can have six or nine members who serve six-year terms. Class IV district boards have as many members as the local city council, and members serve four-year terms. Class V district boards have seven or nine members who serve four-year terms.
Nebraska does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.
A total of one Nebraska school district among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold an election in 2015 for three seats. Lincoln Public Schools will hold its general election on May 5, 2015.
The district served 36,943 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district name for more information on the district and its school board election.
|2015 Nebraska School Board Elections|
|District||Date||Seats up for election||Total board seats||Student enrollment|
|Lincoln Public Schools||5/5/2015||3||7||36,943|
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Nebraska, a person must be a registered voter in the district at the time of the candidacy filing deadline.
School board candidates must file for office with the election commissioner, county clerk or city clerk, depending on the district. Candidates running in districts with territory in multiple counties must file with the election commissioner or county clerk in the county where the most qualified voters in the election reside.
Nebraska requires school board candidates who receive or spend $5,000 or more in a calendar year to file a statement of organization with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission and to pay a filing fee of $100. After that time, candidates must file regular campaign statements with that commission disclosing contributions and expenditures of $250 and more. If a candidate receives a contribution of $1,000 or more in the 14 days preceding the election, that candidate must also file a report of late contributions.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, Amendment 4 (1990)
- Nebraska Dissolution of Class I School Districts Referendum, Initiative Measure 422 (2006)
- Nebraska Early Childhood Education Endowment Fund, Constitutional Amendment 5 (2006)
- Nebraska English in Private Schools, Amendment 1 (2002)
- Nebraska English in Private Schools, Amendment 1 (May 2000)
- Nebraska LB 662, Retention of School Consolidation Law (1986)
- Nebraska Measure 411, Education a Fundamental Right (1996)
- Nebraska School Support through Sales and Income Tax Referendum, Measure 406 (1990)
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Nebraska + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Nebraska state budget and finances
- Nebraska Department of Education
- List of school districts in Nebraska
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Nebraska Department of Education
- Nebraska Public School Ratings by PSK12
- Nebraska Public School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Nebraska Department of Education, "Welcome to the Department of Education," accessed May 21, 2014
- Nebraska Department of Education, "Nebraska Department of Education Mission," accessed May 21, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Nebraska Department of Education, "Nebraska State Board of Education," accessed May 21, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Nebraska teachers unions," accessed November 17, 2009 (dead link)
- National Taxpayers Union, "Taxpayer Group Applauds South Carolina Governor, Nebraska Treasurer for Putting State Spending Online," October 10, 2007
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- United States Census Bureau, "Nebraska," accessed July 10, 2014
- Nebraska Department of Education, "Statistics and Facts about Nebraska Schools, 2010-2011," accessed August 7, 2013
- Nebraska Department of Education, "Cost Per Pupil by Average Daily Attendance (ADA) and by Average Daily Membership (ADM) From the 2011/12 Annual Financial Report," accessed August 7, 2013
- Nebraska Association of School Boards, "Candidate Guide - Serving Public Education," accessed July 10, 2014
- National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 8, 2014
- Nebraska Secretary of State, "Where Candidates Need to File," accessed July 10, 2014
- Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, "Candidates-General Information for the Public," accessed July 10, 2014
State of Nebraska
List of Nebraska ballot measures | Local measures | School bond issues | Ballot measure laws | Initiative laws | History of I&R | History of direct democracy | Campaign Finance Requirements | Recall process |
|State executive officers||
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