Gov. Ricketts, Educators Laud Abolishment of Learning Community Common Levy as "Step Forward"
Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970
Eric Maher, 402-471-1974
SPRINGFIELD – Today, Omaha-area senators and educators joined Governor Pete Ricketts for a signing ceremony for LB1067, a bill that abolishes the Learning Community’s common levy. Since the beginning of his administration, Governor Ricketts has supported efforts to dismantle the Learning Community, and the enactment of this legislation represents the first significant rollback of the Learning Community’s authority since it was first enacted in 2007.
“This is a great step forward for Omaha-area students,” said Governor Ricketts. “While I have always supported abolishing the Learning Community, the end of the common levy is a good compromise. This bill allows Omaha area school districts to focus their resources on providing their students with a quality education, instead of sending their property tax dollars out of their district to fund other schools. I greatly appreciate the senators and educators who worked with my office to get this bill to my desk.”
At the news conference, Governor Ricketts thanked Senator Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids who introduced and prioritized LB1067. Several other senators joined Governor Ricketts for the signing ceremony including Senator Bill Kintner of Papillion, who had championed numerous bills to eliminate the Learning Community over the past several sessions.
“It’s a great day for taxpayers across the metro Omaha region,” said Senator Kintner. “Ending the practice of robbing one school district to pay for the needs of another will help reduce the regional animosity the Learning Community has fostered. Thank you to Governor Ricketts and my fellow senators for stepping up to support and pass these reforms to the Learning Community this session.”
With the abolishment of the common levy under LB1067, property tax dollars will stay in the school district in which they are levied. Previously with the common levy, some school districts ended up sending millions of their property taxes to other school districts. This practice has been one of the most contentious features of the Learning Community, drawing opposition from school districts and taxpayers alike.
“The passage of LB1067 ends the divisive common levy and will foster a more harmonious spirit among Omaha area school districts,” said Gretna Superintendent Dr. Kevin Riley. “This legislation would not have been possible without the cooperation of numerous superintendents and school representatives, and I applaud their ability to come together. With the abolishment of the common levy, Douglas and Sarpy County school districts can now turn their focus to new, collaborative initiatives, which can help provide better educational opportunity for the children our schools serve.”
LB1067 takes effect later this year.