Editorial Roundup: Nebraska

Lincoln Journal-Star. June 4, 2024.

Editorial: School districts, voters need to find common ground

In February 2020, 62% of voters signed off on Lincoln Public Schools’ $290 million school bond issue that paved the way for two new high schools and an elementary school.

LPS was, in a sense, lucky it held its special election when it did, because weeks later, the world was plunged into a pandemic, shuttering schools and upending the education landscape.

Since that time, it appears to have become increasingly difficult for some school districts in Nebraska to convince voters to pass their own bond issues.

The latest example can be found in Waverly, where voters living within the bounds of District 145 last month resoundingly rejected an $89.9 million proposal that would have addressed numerous facility issues. The bond issue was the largest in school history and promised to make sweeping improvements to all five buildings in the district, the Journal Star’s Jenna Ebbers reported.

Other recent examples also come to mind.

Last year, voters said no to a $41.8 million proposal that would have allowed Raymond Central to consolidate into one campus. In Tecumseh, Johnson County Central school officials have failed twice to pass a bond that would further consolidate its own district. Last month, a $37.2 million measure in Louisville also failed.

And in Bennington, voters have repeatedly rejected efforts to secure funding for a new high school, despite voter enthusiasm for similar pushes in nearby Elkhorn and Gretna.

Passing school bonds has always been a monumental challenge — at Raymond Central, voter opposition was tied to longstanding pushback against closing small-town elementary schools that many said are integral to their communities.

But that challenge is perhaps even more difficult today amid soaring property valuations and taxes, rising construction costs and even the politicization of education and attacks on schools and teachers.

Yes, there are examples in the past four years where districts have crossed the finish line — Conestoga’s $33 million proposal on last month’s ballot and a $22 million one in Palmyra in 2022 are two such examples — but these seem to be the exception, not the rule.

While there might be many reasons Waverly’s bond failed, it’s clear officials will have to go back to the drawing board and make its plans — and price tag — more palatable to the community.

Voters are right to be skeptical about any plans that take more money out of their pocket. But school bonds are key funding mechanisms that are critical to a district’s infrastructure needs. More importantly, they ensure students can learn in an environment that is conducive to success.

For these reasons, we hope going forward schools and voters can meet in the middle and find common ground that is fiscally sensible and puts the needs of students first.


McCook Gazette. June 6, 2024.

Editorial: Nebraskans say ‘no’ to office romances, but prenups, just in case

Out here where cornfields stretch as far as the eye can see and cows outnumber people, there lies a peculiar sentiment about mixing business with pleasure.

According to recent findings by www.datingnews.com, Nebraskans seem to have collectively decided that office romances are about as outdated as dial-up internet and fax machines. It’s a sentiment so strong that half of them are ready to slap a ban on workplace wooing faster than you can say “water cooler gossip.”

But why this sudden aversion to inter-office flirtations? Well, it seems Nebraskans have become savvier about the potential hazards of mixing work and play. Only a measly quarter of them feel comfortable with the idea of being asked out by a coworker, indicating a reluctance to blur the lines between professionalism and personal affairs. Perhaps they’ve all read too many workplace rom-coms where love leads to awkward encounters in the break room and HR nightmares.

In fact, the skepticism runs so deep that more than half of Nebraskans are clamoring for official guidelines to navigate the treacherous terrain of workplace romances. It’s as if they’re asking for a roadmap to navigate the minefield of office crushes and cubicle canoodling. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to be the subject of the next company-wide email detailing the sordid details of their office dalliances.

And what happens when these workplace flirtations take a turn for the serious? Well, if you ask the fine folks of Nebraska, they’ll tell you to lawyer up faster than you can say “I do.” That’s right, Nebraskans are leading the charge when it comes to prenuptial agreements, with over one in ten couples opting for these legal safety nets. It’s as if they’re saying, “Sure, let’s mix business with pleasure, but let’s make sure we’ve got a contingency plan in case things go south.”

But not everyone is sold on the idea of prenups. Some folks still see them as a one-way ticket to divorce court, a sentiment echoed by a third of unmarried individuals surveyed, according to turbodebt.com.

It’s as if they believe that signing a prenup is akin to dooming their marriage from the start, like getting a wedding cake with a side of bad luck.

Yet, despite the skepticism, there’s no denying the practicality of prenups in today’s world. With divorce rates on the rise and marriage becoming more of a financial partnership than ever before, it’s no wonder that couples are turning to legal documents to safeguard their assets. After all, love might conquer all, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan, especially when it comes to matters of the heart and the wallet.

So, as Nebraskans continue to eschew office romances in favor of prenups, perhaps the rest of us could stand to learn a thing or two from their pragmatic approach to love and legalities. After all, in a world where the only certainty is uncertainty, it never hurts to have a little extra protection, whether it’s in matters of the heart or the bank account.