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Bill would give tax breaks for scholarship donations to private schools

Posted at 6:49 PM, Mar 11, 2020

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A bill in the Nebraska Legislature could allow for more kids that can't afford private schools to attend them through scholarships, rewarding people through income tax incentives to give money for private school scholarships.

The bill from Senator Lou Ann Linehan is being prioritized and state senators will soon debate the bill. Some say it would give more kids, who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it, a chance to go to a private school.

"A scholarship was the only way I was able to go to private schools all those years," says Nyarok Tot, a supporter of the bill.

Tot went to Catholic school for much of her life, now she goes to goes to University Nebraska-Lincoln.

Her two brothers didn't get scholarships and never graduated college. She thinks she was able to excel because of her Catholic education.

"I like to think, 'Wow, what could they be doing right now if they got the same opportunity as me?"

This bill is certainly going to get some push back, and that includes from former Millard superintendent, now state senator, Rick Kolowski, who says he doesn't want public tax dollars going to private education.

"It's their choice to do what they want to do and go where they want to go. That's free choice but we're not paying for that in the public tax dollars. I think that should a be private situation that they do," says Kolowski.

Millard Public Schools teacher Laura Fisher and Kolowski agree that while private schools can cherry pick students, public schools can't.

"Tax dollars should really be going to public schools because public schools teach every child," says Fisher.

Meanwhile Tot says a private education is a worthy cause for state dollars.

"I think public schools are already failing and they have been failing for years now. It's a matter of looking for other avenues rather than trying to fix one," says Tot.