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NPPS superintendent shares thoughts on proposed beef plant

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 8:50 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - When Dr. Ron Hanson moved into the North Platte Public School District six years ago, he never imagined he would find himself in this current situation.

“Anytime you have an increase in your student enrollment your Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act (TEEOSA) formula, which is the school aid formula, that benefits school districts,” Dr. Hanson said. “Coming from a previous school district that had 300 plus students every year, state aid funding comes with that, so it’s somewhat proportionate. Every time you get a new family in with children there’s an increase in state aid.”

Dr. Hanson says the school district has seen a decline in student enrollment for five consecutive years.

“When we look at our current capacity we could go up to 1400 more students,” said Dr. Hanson. “You got a lot of factors that drive what happens to families and if you look at the economy, you look at the railroad, it’s really families moving for reasons of jobs.”

A reason Dr. Hanson said he’s watching closely the developments of the proposed $300 million beef plant to turn things around.

“Probably a safe estimate would be 50 percent of the workforce (875 employees) that will be coming to North Platte,” said Dr. Hanson. “So anytime a business wants to come to your community, especially a business of this magnitude, the economic that it’s not only going to have on North Platte, but the state of Nebraska, that’s a pretty big deal.”

As more details and developments in regards to the multi-million dollar project, Dr. Hanson encourages everyone to keep an open mind.

“Everybody has a right to their opinion and I would encourage everyone to listen to both sides,” Dr. Hanson said. “I think there is a lot more positive and gains to this community, not just North Platte as I mentioned, but the state of Nebraska. So this is a big opportunity so I just hope everybody keeps an open mind. I certainly have.”

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