State of the States
New Governor Cites Schools as a Top Priority
In his first State of the State Address, Gov. Dave Heineman declared that education will be one of the top four priorities of his administration.
Mr. Heineman became the first lieutenant governor in Nebraska in 45 years to take over as governor when former Gov. Mike Johanns was tapped by President Bush to become the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in January. Mr. Johanns had two years remaining in his term.
Gov. Heineman, also a Republican, offered no details on his agenda for schools as he listed it as a priority alongside economic vitality, efficiency in government, and workforce preparation.
“I believe education is the great equalizer,” he told lawmakers. “Our children are our hope for the future, so we have an obligation to provide them with the tools to succeed.”
According to local media reports following the speech, the new governor declined to answer questions about his agenda for addressing perennial school concerns in Nebraska, such as school funding and consolidation.
In his speech, however, he endorsed the budget proposal submitted by then-Gov. Johanns on Jan. 13 for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, saying it “reflects both optimism and caution.”
Under that plan, total precollegiate funding would rise by $69 million, or 9 percent, to $1.2 billion in fiscal 2006, and by $142 million, or 13 percent, in fiscal 2007.
Vol. 24, Issue 23, Page 30