Legal propriety of school land lease payments questioned

In August, Chase County Attorney Arlan Wine received a letter from Wheeler County Attorney James McNally.
    Wheeler County Schools and the Wheeler County Commissioners had asked McNally to look into sttate Board of Education land lease payments and remittances back to that school district.
    Under the arrangement,  the Nebraska Board of Education leases out land it owns, then the collected money is pooled by the state, which redistributes it to schools.
    McNally’s letter to Wine included a chart showing the amount of lease payments collected in each county in Nebraska and how much the counties received back as apportionment for their schools.
    Chase County, for instance, had county lease payments of $1,512,561 in 2017 while receiving $117,798.32 in reimbursements.
    “The reimbursement is based on the number of students in your county, and so what happens is that your taxpayers are paying for the education of the kids in Douglas, Lancaster, Hall and other more populous counties in Nebraska,” McNally’s letter stated.
    Wine said much of the school land in the eastern part of the state was sold, with those funds put in escrow to generate interest.

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