Larianne Polk

Nebraska Educational Service Units: A Study of Legislative Policy History 1992-2018
School: 
University of South Dakota
Degree: 
Ed.D.
Date/Year: 
2018
Adviser: 
Dr. Kristine Reed
Pages: 
248
Download: 
Abstract: 

Nebraska’s Educational Service Units (ESUs) are under threat of de-funding, consolidation, and even elimination. For too long, the ESUs have been an invisible asset to school districts, providing equity to our rural schools, and expertise to our more urban schools. ESUs work from the expectation of efficiency and effectiveness, to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars, to provide to school districts what is needed and necessary, to be on the cutting edge in ways school districts cannot, to use economy of size to drive costs down, to innovate, and to provide best practice education to school districts, administrators, teachers, and students.  This study addresses the need for a detailed history of the Nebraska Educational Service Unit Act beginning in the year 1992 in the 92nd Legislative Session to the end of Nebraska’s 2018 105th Legislative Session and identifies themes or patterns throughout this time.

Findings of this research clearly demonstrate the majority of the legislative policy enacted during this time has a great emphasis on the funding structure of ESUs and their services. This researcher upon initiating this work, anticipated there to be a greater number of patterns found in the research. After analysis, there were only three main categories or themes: funding, role of ESUs, and governance. These three themes were further disaggregated for deeper analysis. The funding theme emphasized dollars associated with telecomputing, core service appropriations, decreased levy authority, state appropriations, and general fund specifically for technology. The role of ESUs focused on core services, county superintendents, and distance learning.  Finally, governance patterns related to the ESU Coordinating Council, ESU board meetings, political subdivision, and single district ESUs.  Decisions at the Legislative level are complex.  Without comprehensive historical information, policy decisions are not only difficult to make, but potentially inaccurate and incomplete.  This study fills the gap that presently persists with regard to a historical reference for the Nebraska Educational Service Unit Act of 1965 since 1992.

 
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