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      Lawmakers Advance Bill to Increase School Funding

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      LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska's K-12 public schools would receive an additional $35.7 million in state equalization aid under a bill that won first-round approval in the Legislature.

      The bill that advanced Wednesday reduces the funding that public schools are required to generate locally through property taxes. That change within Nebraska's school-aid formula automatically triggers additional funding from the state.

      Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, chairwoman of the Education Committee, says she introduced the bill in response to property-tax complaints heard during a series of summer tax hearings. Supporters say increasing state aid would reduce pressure on property taxes, though not all districts receive equalization aid.

      Equalized schools would receive an estimated $935.7 million under the bill in fiscal year 2015.

      Lawmakers voted 29-0 to advance the bill.

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