- Associated Press - Monday, June 12, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - More Nebraska fourth graders will see the state Capitol and other historic sites under a new grant program to help schools that have cut field trips from their budgets, officials announced Monday.

The privately funded grant will reimburse schools for transportation and admission costs for a dozen educational sites throughout the state during the 2017-18 school year. It’s open to public and private schools and nonprofits that support homeschooled students.

“It’s a great experience for the kids to be able to do it, and we want to make sure schools have that opportunity,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said at a news conference.

Ricketts announced the initiative with Nebraska first lady Susanne Shore and Suzanne Wise, executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council, which offers a similar grant program for art sites.

Wise said field trips to major state sites provide a strong learning experience that stays with students beyond childhood. Wise said each site helps meet state educational curriculum goals.

Organizers have raised about $350,000 toward their goal of $400,000. Their aim is to send every fourth grader in the state to the Capitol or a site near their school.

The program is part of the Nebraska 150 celebration, a series of initiatives to commemorate the state’s 150th anniversary.

The other sites are the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park in North Platte, the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln, Chimney Rock in Bayard, the John G. Neihardt State Historical Site in Bancroft, the Durham Museum in Omaha, the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center in Chadron, the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, the Scotts Bluff National Monument in Gering, the Knight Museum & Sandhills Alliance Center in Alliance and the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island.

Ricketts encouraged schools to apply by July 1. Wise said applications must be received at least four weeks prior to the field trip.


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