By: Megan Palera
A bill to give school districts more security is making its way through the Unicameral. Just a penny increase in the levy tax could generate thousands, if not millions of dollars, to help make students, staff and parents feel safe and secure in school.
"He walked into her office, he closed the door; he shot her several times. He walked out; he shot the principal who was on his way to her office to help. He drove off and took his own life in a nearby park."
It's a bone chilling testimony from Millard Public Schools Administrator, Angelo Passareli. Remembering that tragic day two years ago, Passareli makes a plea to lawmakers Thursday to approve LB 346.
"We're not interested in going back. With that said, we think this bill will help us move forward," Passareli said.
The bill would allow a school district the option to increase its property tax levy by once cent to pay for security improvements. Some argue those improvements could help prevent another tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
"The perpetrator shot through the door. We know that now. And at least that slowed him down to 911 being called," Omaha Sen. Rick Kolowski said.
In one year, Lincoln Public Schools could raise $1.7 million dollars with the one cent levy. It would take a 2/3 majority vote from the school board to approve the increase.
There were a number of educators and administrators who testified in support of the bill Thursday. Even a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association said improving school security is more likely to prevent shootings than gun control laws.
"While the national discussion goes on with what we can do to prevent another one of these horrible school mass shootings, this is what we can do and we can do this now," NRA lobbyist Ron Jensen said.