Nebraska voters to decide fate of Opportunity Scholarships Act in Nov. 2024 election

Secretary of State certifies public school supporters’ petition, Repeal LB 753 heads to 2024 ballot
Nebraska voters will decide whether the Opportunity Scholarships Act should be repealed or retained in the Nov. 2024 general election.
Published: Oct. 10, 2023 at 4:21 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2023 at 4:36 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office announced Tuesday that county election officials have finished verifying thousands of signatures submitted as part of the petition drive to repeal LB 753 and have certified their results.

“After careful review by our county election officials, I can confirm that the constitutional requirements have been met to place the referendum petition on the November 2024 ballot,” Secretary Evnen said.

Nebraska voters will decide whether the Opportunity Scholarships Act also known as ‘School Choice’ should be repealed or retained in the November 2024 general election.

At least 61,308 signatures were required to add the petition referendum to the ballot. The SOS office said county election officials verified 91,861 valid signatures, which met the threshold. Additionally, signatures of more than 5% of registered voters were collected in the 64 of the state’s 93 counties. This meets the constitutional distribution requirement of 38 counties for a referendum petition.

Over the coming days, the Attorney General will create the ballot language for the measure. In the fall of 2024, state election staff will schedule three public hearings about the measure and create informational pamphlets that will be available to voters at county election offices.

Explaining the Opportunity Scholarships Act

State Senators pass bill that will allow tax credits for granting organizations to private and parochial schools.

The Opportunity Scholarships Act (LB753) was signed into law earlier this year, permitting state tax credits for donations to organizations that provide scholarships to kids to attend private and parochial schools.

Proponents of the Opportunity Scholarships Act said it will allow low-income families the opportunity to send their kids to private and parochial schools via the generous tax breaks offered to those donating funds for private school scholarships.

Governor Jim Pillen issued the following statement in response to the update:

“This issue is very simple – it’s about giving families a choice in identifying the best educational environment for their kids. This is not about which one is better – public or private schools. I am confident that voters will understand the decision before them and will vote to keep school choice for children. We must provide students and their families the ability to decide the educational fit that works best for them. This law accomplishes that.”

The organization “Support Our Schools Nebraska” that was behind the petition drive to Repeal LB 753 say they want to keep public dollars for public schools and are pleased the issue is going on the ballot.

“This was a decisive victory and the first step to ensure public funds are used to support public schools, not private schools,” said Jenni Benson, a sponsor of Support Our Schools Nebraska and president of the Nebraska State Education Association. “Nebraskans cannot afford to pay for two school systems. Now we redouble our efforts to inform Nebraskans of the harm LB 753 will cause if it is not repealed.”