Occupation: Retired attorney
Political party: Republican
Address: 2726 Katy Circle, Lincoln
Stenberg, who is retired, served 20 years as chief legal counsel for Southeast Community College. The University of Nebraska Law College graduate was a member and served as the president of the Nebraska Council of School Attorneys.
SCC, like other community colleges, is focused on student access, and the college can levy property taxes to help fund its operations. What is the appropriate balance between tuition cost and local support through property taxes?
The college’s budget statement for 2019-20 indicates that general fund revenue is currently raised as follows: state aid 30%, property tax 48%, tuition 21%, other 1%. The current split is reasonable, but I would favor some increase in state aid as a means of providing property tax relief. For 2017-18, the average annual tuition and fees for a resident student at SCC was $3,214.00. I would be opposed to increases in tuition greater than the rate of inflation.
The college has embarked on an ambitious plan to update and upgrade its campuses, but it has come at some additional cost to taxpayers. Do you support this plan? Why or why not?
I support the construction of new facilities only when a clear need exists and attention is given to all three SCC campuses. In order to avoid a hardship on property taxpayers, construction projects must be phased in over a period of time and must be financed solely with the statutorily authorized 2-cent capital construction fund levy. Health Sciences (Lincoln), Diesel Technology and Welding (Milford), Classroom Building (Beatrice) and Learning Center (Falls City) all meet these criteria.
What is SCC’s role in growing Southeast Nebraska and the state?
The college should be a catalyst for economic development. The college should use, among other things, employer surveys to help it better understand the hiring needs of local businesses and to evaluate whether the training offered by the college, including both degree and continuing education opportunities, match the needs of local businesses. I support the creation of additional trade programs whenever necessary to support the needs of business and industry.
What experience in public office, civic or professional organizations or other areas helps qualify you as a candidate for this office?
As chief legal counsel to Southeast Community College for 20 years, I became familiar with all state and federal laws pertaining to the college. I was involved in counseling, strategizing and advising on a wide range of administrative and board issues. I worked closely with the SCC board and administration. I am the former editor of the Nebraska School Law Reporter. I was a member of the Nebraska Council of School Attorneys and served as president of that organization.
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