Two Sarpy County school districts want to be ready if Nebraska lawmakers junk the shared property-tax system of the Learning Community.
Boundary negotiations are under way between officials from the Papillion-La Vista Public Schools and the Springfield Platteview Community Schools.
Officials are negotiating how they might transfer land between the districts to benefit them both.
The idea is to accommodate real estate development, but also to send a message to lawmakers that local districts can resolve boundary issues.
"We want to be able to show them that we can get a deal done," Springfield Platteview Superintendent Brett Richards said.
Richards said he's been talking with officials in the Bellevue Public Schools as well.
A draft deal discussed Monday would let the Papillion-La Vista School District expand into the northern edges of Springfield Platteview, north of Capehart Road between 60th and 114th Streets and on some specific sites that straddle both districts near Nebraska Highway 370 and 125th Street.
In return, the draft says, Springfield Platteview would be paid $2,000 an acre for undeveloped land and receive 10 years of property taxes on existing developments taken.
Doug Lewis, assistant superintendent for business and finance for Papillion-La Vista, said developers would pay the transfer cost.
Patricia Conway Boyd said making developers pay the cost was important, as well as sending a message to lawmakers.
“We want to show the Legislature that districts can have agreements, and they can get along, and they can come to some reasonable conclusions when it comes to boundaries,” she said.
Richards said his district can afford to give up some land at the edges if Springfield Platteview can keep the property-tax revenue currently siphoned off by the common levy.
The common levy, created by state lawmakers, is imposed on property in Douglas and Sarpy Counties and part of Washington County.
The money from that levy is redistributed to 11 school districts in accordance with a unique formula intended to shift property tax revenue to districts that lack sufficient property tax base.
The levy took effect in the 2010-11 school year.
A majority of metro-area school boards have called for junking it and instead boosting state aid for districts educating students who are poor and facing language barriers. However, time is running out for any action on the levy during the current legislative session.
Richards said Springfield Platteview officials would prefer the district grew from the inside out rather than the outside in. But with the common levy in place, his district can't afford to give up any land to neighbors, he said.
"Everything's kind of contingent on the common levy going away," Richards said.
Richards said specifics of the land-transfer framework have yet to be negotiated and approved by each school board.