Diocesan News

Nebraska School Choice Week rally held at state capitol Jan. 25

LINCOLN (SNR) - Students from several Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lincoln attended the annual school choice rally Jan. 25 at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln, sponsored by the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) and other supporters of school choice.

The gathering was one of tens of thousands of similar events around the country marking National School Choice Week, Jan. 21-27.

Sr. Mary Cecilia, principal of St. Joseph School in Lincoln with student Sean. Photo courtesy Jeremy Ekeler, principal of Cathedral of the Risen Christ School in Lincoln.

Governor Pete Ricketts, who issued an official proclamation recognizing Jan. 21-27 as Nebraska School Choice Week, spoke at the Jan. 25 rally, as did Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, state senators, parents and students.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC), which represents the mutual public policy interests of Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops, supports a school choice bill this legislative session.

LB295, the Opportunity Scholarships Act, provides private school scholarships for low-income and working-class students. It does so by enacting a tax credit for donations to nonprofit scholarship granting organizations. This type of policy is popularly referred to as “tax credit scholarship programs.”

In an interview with the Southern Nebraska Register Jan. 12, Tom Venzor, executive director of the NCC, stressed that LB295 “directs only private—not public—funds to private school students.

“It helps reduce costly overcrowding in Lincoln and Omaha public schools,” he explained.

“LB295 actually saves state tax dollars by slowing the amount of state aid needed for public schools,” he said. “If a scholarship recipient transfers from public to private school, it will likely leave more resources for the state to spend on fewer students.”

Photo courtesy Charity Kuehn

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