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Press Release

Nebraska Governor Pillen Signs Historic School Choice Bill

The American Federation for Children celebrates Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen for signing into law the state’s first school choice bill today, a tax credit-funded program that will provide scholarship opportunities for children to attend a private school of their parents’ choice.

Present at today’s signing were many children and families who will be eligible to benefit from Opportunity Scholarships, as well as the school and community leaders who worked for more than a decade to see today’s victory.

Statement from Lauren Garcia, State Director of the American Federation for Children-Nebraska: 

“School choice has finally become law in Nebraska. Children and families have been waiting for decades to have access to educational opportunities to meet their needs, regardless of income or ZIP code, and today they have won.”

Statement from Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen: 

“This legislation is a historic step forward for the state of Nebraska. Our kids are our future, and we all believe that every Nebraska kid should have the opportunity to have their educational needs met, whether they live in Omaha or Scottsbluff. This law ensures that we are funding students, not systems.”

Statement from Senator Lou Ann Linehan, sponsor of the Opportunity Scholarships Act and longtime champion: 

“Today is about the kids and families in Nebraska whose lives will be changed thanks to the freedom to attend a school that best fits their needs. It has been my honor and privilege to be part of this effort and it would not have been possible without the leadership and commitment of Governor Pillen, Speaker Arch, so many of my colleagues in the legislature, and hundreds of advocates and families who have been fighting to open the doors of opportunity to kids who need it most. It cannot go unsaid that Senator Justin Wayne has been essential to this effort and has boldly and consistently put the best interest of children before political gain. We simply could not have done this without his heroic leadership.”

Statement from Clarice Jackson, Voice Advocacy Center:

“This program will give children an opportunity to get an education that best fits them in their academic lifetime. These children cannot wait, and now they will finally have a chance.”

 Statement from Tonya Santos, CUES and Holy Name School:

“Today, finally, we are blessed to witness the historic signing of this bill, which will give opportunity to Nebraska kids, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Many more parents will have the ability to choose the right educational fit for our children.”


  • The Opportunity Scholarship Act, LB753, creates a $100 million tax credit scholarship program
  • Students from lower-income families, students with special needs, students who experience bullying, students from military families, students in foster care, and students who are denied option enrollment into a non-zone public school are eligible for scholarships
  • The program gives priority to children from the lowest-income families first, giving final priority to families making less than 300% of the federal Free and Reduced Lunch rate
  • The average scholarship amount is capped at 75% of state per-pupil funding, which equates to approximately $9,200
  • Donors to non-profit scholarship granting organizations may receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, up to 50% of their total income tax liability and not to exceed $100,000
  • The Opportunity Scholarship Act is the first school choice program ever passed in Nebraska, and with it, Nebraska’s legislature becomes the 50th in the nation to pass school choice in the form of a private school program or charter school law


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