State law encourages districts to address water quality in schools.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-10,110.02. Health and safety modifications on and after April 19, 2016; school board; powers and duties; tax levy authorized; issuance of bonds authorized.
(1) On and after April 19, 2016, the school board of any school district may make a determination that an additional property tax levy is necessary for a specific abatement project to address an actual or potential environmental hazard, accessibility barrier, life safety code violation, life safety hazard, or mold which exists within one or more existing school buildings or the school grounds of existing school buildings controlled by the school district. Such determination shall not include abatement projects related to the acquisition of new property, the construction of a new building, the expansion of an existing building, or the remodeling of an existing building for purposes other than the abatement of environmental hazards, accessibility barriers, life safety code violations, life safety hazards, or mold. Upon such determination, the school board may, not later than the date provided in section 13-508, make and deliver to the county clerk of such county in which any part of the school district is situated an itemized estimate of the amounts necessary to be expended for such abatement project, any insurance proceeds or other anticipated funds that will be received by the school district related to the abatement project, the period of years for which the property tax will be levied for such project, and the estimated amount of the levy for each year of the period based on the taxable valuation of the district at the time of issuance. The period of years for such levy shall not exceed ten years and the levy for such project when combined with all other levies pursuant to this section and section 79-10,110 shall not exceed three cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation. Nothing in this section shall affect levies pursuant to section 79-10,110. (2) The county clerk shall levy such taxes and such taxes shall be collected by the county treasurer at the same time and in the same manner as county taxes are collected and when collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the district. A separate abatement project account shall be established for each project by the school district. Taxes collected pursuant to this section shall be credited to the appropriate account to cover the project costs. (3) For purposes of this section: (a) Abatement includes, but is not limited to, any related inspection and testing, any maintenance to reduce, lessen, put an end to, diminish, moderate, decrease, control, dispose of, eliminate, or remove the issue causing the need for abatement, any related restoration or replacement of material or property, any related architectural and engineering services, and any other action to reduce or eliminate the issue causing the need for abatement in existing school buildings or on the school grounds of existing school buildings under the board’s control; (b) Accessibility barrier means anything which impedes entry into, exit from, or use of any building or facility by all people; and (c) Environmental hazard means any contamination of the air, water, or land surface or subsurface caused by any substance adversely affecting human health or safety if such substance has been declared hazardous by a federal or state statute, rule, or regulation. (4) For the purpose of paying amounts necessary for the abatement project, the board may borrow money, establish a sinking fund, and issue bonds and other evidences of indebtedness of the district, which bonds and other evidences of indebtedness shall be secured by and payable from an irrevocable pledge by the district of amounts received in respect of the tax levy provided for by this section and any other funds of the district available therefor. Bonds and other evidences of indebtedness issued by a district pursuant to this subsection shall not constitute a general obligation of the district or be payable from any portion of its general fund levy. The total principal amount of bonds for abatement projects pursuant to this section shall not exceed the total amount specified in the itemized estimate described in subsection (1) of this section. (5) A district may exceed the maximum levy of three cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation authorized by this section in any year in which (a) the taxable valuation of the district is lower than the taxable valuation in the year in which the district last issued bonds pursuant to this section and (b) such maximum levy is insufficient to meet the combined annual principal and interest obligations for all bonds issued pursuant to this section and section 79-10,110. The amount generated from a district’s levy in excess of three cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation shall not exceed the combined annual principal and interest obligations for such bonds minus the amount generated by levying three cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation.