Down To The Core: Public vs. Private School Funding


The great debate over funding has public school superintendents anxious over this next legislative session in Nebraska. But thousands of students also go to private schools.

While many lawmakers are debating public school funding, what are the private schools in Nebraska doing? They don't receive a single penny from the so-called "convoluted" state aid system.

"We don't receive any funds from the state or federal government," said Titus Staples, principal of Faith Christian School in Kearney.

He says since they don't receive aid from the government, student tuition funds their programs.

"All of our funds come from tuition that's paid by the parents and we have two fundraisers throughout the year," said Staples.

With only 85 students in this K-8 school, they rely heavily on community support.

"A private school has to be more efficient with their funds. They have to make sure they're spending their money appropriately. There's not as much funds available as compared to the public schools," said Staples.

In Nebraska there are about 201 private school systems out there with around 38,000 students. While there are 249 public school districts with over 298,000 students.

"I'd say it's probably time for an adjustment," said Dr. Brian Maher superintendent of the Kearney Public School system. He says the wild swings in funds cause frustration.

"The peaks and valleys that we go through make it incredibly difficult to budget long term," said Maher.

While the KPS system serves thousands of students, Maher says the money needs to go to the students.

"In a simple world money needs to follow kids, and if you get in a system where money isn't following the kids, that system probably needs some sort of adjustment," said Maher.