Nebraska Revised Statute 79-734
School textbooks, equipment, and supplies; purchase and loan; rules and regulations; department; duty.
(1) School boards and boards of education of all classes of school districts shall purchase all textbooks, equipment, and supplies necessary for the schools of such district. The duty to make such purchases may be delegated to employees of the school district.
(2) School boards and boards of education shall purchase and loan textbooks to all children who are enrolled in kindergarten to grade twelve of a public school and, upon individual request, to children who are enrolled in kindergarten to grade twelve of a private school which is approved for continued legal operation under rules and regulations established by the State Board of Education pursuant to subdivision (5)(c) of section 79-318. The Legislature may appropriate funds to carry out the provisions of this subsection. A school district is not obligated to spend any money for the purchase and loan of textbooks to children enrolled in private schools other than funds specifically appropriated by the Legislature to be distributed by the State Department of Education for the purpose of purchasing and loaning textbooks as provided in this subsection. Textbooks loaned to children enrolled in kindergarten to grade twelve of such private schools shall be textbooks which are designated for use in the public schools of the school district in which the child resides or the school district in which the private school the child attends is located. Such textbooks shall be loaned free to such children subject to such rules and regulations as are or may be prescribed by such school boards or boards of education. The State Department of Education shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this section. The rules and regulations shall include provisions for the distribution of funds appropriated for textbooks. The rules and regulations shall include a deadline for applications from school districts for distribution of funds. If funds are not appropriated to cover the entire cost of applications, a pro rata reduction shall be made. It is the intent of the Legislature that on or before October 1, 2016, the department provide to the Education Committee of the Legislature recommended changes to this subsection that reflect advances in technology and educational content for students.
- Laws 1891, c. 46, § 1, p. 334;
- Laws 1903, c. 99, § 1, p. 570;
- R.S.1913, § 6914;
- C.S.1922, § 6498;
- C.S.1929, § 79-1801;
- R.S.1943, § 79-1801;
- Laws 1947, c. 283, § 1, p. 891;
- Laws 1949, c. 256, § 156, p. 745;
- Laws 1971, LB 659, § 2;
- Laws 1973, LB 358, § 3;
- Laws 1983, LB 203, § 1;
- Laws 1986, LB 757, § 1;
- Laws 1995, LB 159, § 1;
- R.S.Supp.,1995, § 79-4,118;
- Laws 1996, LB 900, § 408;
- Laws 2016, LB1066, § 7.
The loan of textbooks designated for use in public schools to private school students under this section is permissible under the Constitutions of Nebraska and the United States. The language of this section is not so vague that a school board will be required to guess at its meaning. Upon individual request means upon request of the student. This section does have a secular purpose: it provides all schoolchildren, public or private, with free textbooks designated for use in the public schools. Merely loaning secular textbooks to nonpublic school students, as provided in this section, will not require close supervision of nonpublic school teachers by government and will not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion. Cunningham v. Lutjeharms, 231 Neb. 756, 437 N.W.2d 806 (1989).
L.B. 659, Laws 1971, intended to provide financial assistance to nonpublic schools through the loan of secular textbooks, is unconstitutional. Gaffney v. State Department of Education, 192 Neb. 358, 220 N.W.2d 550 (1974).