Senator: State should prepare for parochial school closures

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Thousands of Nebraska students attend parochial schools each year, yet a lawmaker says public schools have no contingency plan if one nearby were to suddenly close.

Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus argued Tuesday that schools should prepare financially and understand the costs that would come with a glut of new students. Schumacher proposed a bill to the Education Committee that would require districts to either increase their facilities, staff and cash reserve, or pay parochial schools a kind of insurance policy to stay open.

Schumacher says he knows the bill won’t pass, but he wants districts to discuss the issue.

The Nebraska Department of Education says nearly 38,000 students are attending private schools this year, compared to nearly 316,000 enrolled in a public school.