Community Development News

Lack of broadband connection sparks a rural advocate

Civic engagement can be an enriching activity that helps everyone around us. You may have experienced this through calling your senator or testifying before a committee. You may also know that advocating for your beliefs can be difficult, even scary.

Mike Tabbert has mastered the art of advocacy; championing causes that matter to him.

After growing up in Orchard, Nebraska, Mike moved around. Most recently, he lived in the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area. Last year, Mike and his husband, Brian, moved back to Nebraska, and settled in rural Antelope County.

Diller-Odell Public Schools navigates challenge of unbalanced state funding

Like most rural schools in Nebraska, Diller-Odell Public Schools faces an imbalanced funding stream caused by a complex property tax and school funding system.

While no school is the same, Diller-Odell, located on the Jefferson-Gage County line along the Kansas border, shows the tumultuous times rural schools and the agriculture economy have faced in recent years. With little state funding, the district is reliant on local property taxes and, because of a recent spike in land valuations, most of the burden is on area farmers.

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