Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Members of the Health and Human Services Committee:
My name is Garret Swanson, G-A-R-R-E-T S-W-A-N-S-O-N and I am here on behalf of the Holland Children’s Movement, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that strives to fulfill its vision for Nebraska to become a beacon in economic security and opportunity for all children and families, in opposition to LB 1386.
Our sister non-profit, the Holland Children’s Institute, conducts a sophisticated, non-partisan poll published at least once a year on the non-profit’s website. In every poll, a question is asked to Nebraskans that tests their opinion on giving public money to private schools. In the 2023 poll conducted in February, Nebraskans were asked if they Favored Strongly, Favored not Strongly, Opposed not Strongly, Opposed Strongly, or didn’t know their opinion on giving tax dollars to private schools. The 2023 poll found that 34% of Nebraskans favored subsiding private schools with taxpayer dollars with 23% favoring strongly. In comparison, 64% of Nebraskans opposed subsiding private schools with taxpayer dollars with 49% of Nebraskans opposing strongly.
In the 2022 poll conducted in October of that year, 32% of Nebraskans favored using taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools with 20% favoring strongly. Again, this is compared to 67% of Nebraskans in opposition with 51% strongly opposed.
Simply put Senators, there is no public mandate in Nebraska to give taxpayer money to private schools. In November, the public will be voting on whether to repeal LB 753 from last year’s session. The results of this ballot initiative should inform the Legislature on if there is any public mandate to give public dollars to private schools. Passing LB1386 now takes away the ability of voters in Nebraska to have their say and could trigger another ballot initiative.
The Movement urges the Senators here not to vote LB 1386 out of Committee. Thank you.