NEBRASKA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
NEBRASKA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION BACKGROUND
The State Board of Education is an elected, constitutional body that sets policy and ensures that the State Department of Education functions effectively within the framework developed by the state Legislature and the board. By law, the board and the department have broad leadership functions to carry out certain regulatory and service activities.
Statewide oversight of education in Nebraska began in February 1869 when the Legislature created the office of the state superintendent of public instruction. The office was included in the constitution of 1875. In 1917, the Legislature decided to place the state superintendent on a non-partisan basis. In 1920, the constitution was changed to have the superintendent serve a four-year term beginning in 1923.
A 1952 constitutional amendment established a State Department of Education, which acts under the authority of the State Board of Education. The role of state superintendent of public instruction was transferred to the Board of Education or the commissioner of education effective in January 1955.
The 1967 Legislature divided the state into eight districts, and the membership of the State Board of Education was increased from six to eight members effective January 1969. The districts were realigned by the 1991 Legislature.
The board is elected on a non-partisan ballot, with one member from each district. Board members serve four-year terms. Board members are not paid, but are reimbursed for their expenses.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AT STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS
According to State Board Policy B12, any citizen or spokesperson for a group of citizens may request an appearance before the State Board of Education at any regular meeting or work session of the Board except when the Board declares itself to be in executive session, and may address the Board provided a request for such address has been made to the Commissioner of Education, or Board members in writing at least ten days in advance of the meeting in order to permit such appearance to be placed on the published agenda. Such appearance, if granted by the Board President, may be limited to ten minutes unless an extension is granted by the President or a vote by the majority of the Board.
In addition, the published agenda of every regular meeting of the State Board shall contain an item identified as Public Comment Period. This period, which may be fifteen minutes in duration, may be available to any person who wishes to address the State Board on any subject within its authority that is not on the agenda. The order of appearance during the Public Comment Period may be determined by the President from among those who indicate their presence and their desire to speak at the beginning of each such period. If more than three people wish to appear at any Public Comment Period, the President may select which three persons may appear. No appearance during any Public Comment Period may exceed five minutes unless an extension is granted by the President.
The Board President may designate agenda items where public comment may be taken on that agenda item. Fifteen minutes may be allowed for such comment on each designated item.
The Board President may also choose to allow public comment at any time during a meeting. A majority of members present and voting may also choose to allow public comment at any time. The President or majority of members present and voting may terminate or reduce the time for public comment at any time.