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Assessing the Future of the Learning Community of the Omaha Metropolitan Area after the Elimination of the Common Property Tax Levy

Trenton Wayne Steele, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The Second Session of the 99th Nebraska Legislature, convened in 2007, produced an educational idea that was unique in the United States: The Learning Community of the Omaha metropolitan area. Aimed at creating greater educational funding equity, integrating the young people of the Omaha area, and improving student learning achievement, the Learning Community was a union of school districts that, while maintaining their boundaries, pooled their tax money and distributed it among member districts according to a needs-based formula (the “common levy”). Further, students were to be provided access to other districts in an effort to improve diversity among metropolitan schools. However, on April 13, 2016, the Second Session of the 104th Nebraska Legislature, facing an organized effort by those opposed to the pooling and redistribution of tax money under the original Learning Community law, voted to end the common levy aspect of the statute. Governor Pete Ricketts subsequently signed the bill into law. The purpose of this study was to analyze the future of the Learning Community in the aftermath of the loss of the common levy. Using a case study approach of qualitative research, state public policy officials and metropolitan school district administrators were interviewed to gauge their perceptions of the Learning Community’s aims and effectiveness, the importance of the common levy and the impact of its removal, and their thoughts about the Learning Community’s future as an entity as well as an idea. Based upon this research, recommendations for future research and practice regarding the Learning Community were assessed.

Subject Area

Education finance|Educational administration|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Steele, Trenton Wayne, "Assessing the Future of the Learning Community of the Omaha Metropolitan Area after the Elimination of the Common Property Tax Levy" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI13860526.