Diocesan News

Rally for school choice held Jan. 26

Nebraska Catholic Conference rallies for School Choice, supports Opportunity Scholarships Act

Lincoln (NCC/SNR) – The Nebraska Catholic Conference, as part of the Nebraska School Choice Coalition, co-hosted the second annual National School Choice Week Rally at the Capitol Jan. 26.

Editor's Note: click for photos from the 2017 and 2016 rallies

The crowd at the capitol included more than 600 students from schools across Nebraska.

Afterward, the Nebraska Catholic Conference supported LB 295, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, in a Revenue Committee hearing.

National School Choice Week is an independent public awareness effort designed to highlight the panoply of education options available for every child. These options include private schools, parochial schools, and home-school, and they will be among those celebrated outside the Capitol this morning.

“Different children have different needs,” said Tom Venzor, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference. “It is time to enact laws that actually give meaning to a parent’s fundamental right to choose the education best-suited for their child.”

The Opportunity Scholarship Act would finally provide school choice for countless low- and middle-income families across Nebraska. LB 295 enacts a tax credit for private donations to nonprofits known as “Scholarship Granting Organizations” (SGOs). In turn, SGOs must convert nearly all of their revenue into private-school scholarships for low- and middle-income families. Similar laws exist in 17 other states—including Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Opportunity Scholarships break down barriers that prevent many families from accessing the education best-suited for their children.

In addition, LB 295 immediately begins saving the state millions of dollars in state aid, because it focuses eligibility on students who are currently in public school but demand private school. In Iowa, they’ve saved at least $280 million since 2006. In Arizona, they save at least $240 million a year. Across the United States, they’ve saved at least $1.7 billion to date. 

“The time for Opportunity Scholarships is now,” Venzor said. “They empower parents, change children’s lives, and immediately begin saving the state millions. I call on parents to urge their senator to support LB 295 and finally provide school choice to those most in need.”

The Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) is the statewide association operated jointly by the Archdiocese of Omaha, Diocese of Grand Island, and Diocese of Lincoln.  Located in Lincoln, the NCC represents the public policy interests of Nebraska’s three Roman Catholic bishops before the Nebraska legislature, the Nebraska delegation in Congress, and state agencies.  The public policy issues addressed by the NCC include institutional concerns of the Catholic Church as well as issues related to Catholic moral and social teaching, human dignity, and the common good.

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