(1) Unified system means two or more Class II or III school districts participating in an interlocal agreement under the Interlocal Cooperation Act with approval from the State Committee for the Reorganization of School Districts. The interlocal agreement may include Class I districts if the entire valuation is included in the unified system. The interlocal agreement shall provide:
(a) For a minimum term of three school years;
(b) That all property tax and state aid resources shall be shared by the unified system;
(c) That a board composed of school board members, with at least one school board member from each district, shall determine the general fund levy, within the limitations placed on school districts and multiple-district school systems pursuant to section 77-3442, to be applied in all participating districts and shall determine the distribution of property tax and state aid resources within the unified system. For purposes of section 77-3442, the multiple-district school system shall include all of the Class I, II, and III districts participating in the unified system and the Class I districts or portions thereof affiliated with any of the participating Class II and III districts;
(d) That certificated staff will be employees of the unified system. For any certificated staff employed by the unified system, tenure and seniority as of the effective date of the interlocal agreement shall be transferred to the unified system and tenure and seniority provisions shall continue in the unified system except as provided in sections 79-850 to 79-858. If a district withdraws from the unified system or if the interlocal agreement expires and is not renewed, certificated staff employed by a participating district immediately prior to the unification shall be reemployed by the original district and tenure and seniority as of the effective date of the withdrawal or expiration shall be transferred to the original district. The certificated staff hired by the unified system but not employed by a participating district immediately prior to the unification shall be subject to the reduction-in-force policy of the unified system;
(e) That the participating districts shall pay obligations of the unified system pursuant to sections 79-850 to 79-858 on a pro rata basis based on the adjusted valuations if a district withdraws from the unified system or if the interlocal agreement expires and is not renewed; and
(f) The permissible method or methods for accomplishing the partial or complete termination of the interlocal agreement and for disposing of assets and liabilities upon such partial or complete termination.
Additional provisions in the interlocal agreement shall be determined by the participating districts and shall encourage cooperation within the unified system.
(2) Application for unification shall be made to the state committee. The application shall contain a copy of the interlocal agreement signed by the president of each participating school board. The state committee shall approve or disapprove applications for unification within forty days after receipt of the application. If the interlocal agreement complies with subsection (1) of this section and all school boards of the participating districts have approved the interlocal agreement, the state committee shall approve the application. Unification agreements shall be effective on June 1 following approval from the state committee for status as a unified system or on the date specified in the interlocal agreement, except that the date shall be on or after June 1 and on or before September 1 for a specified year. The board established in the interlocal agreement may begin meeting any time after the application has been approved by the state committee.
(3) Upon granting the application for unification, the State Department of Education shall recognize the unified system as a single Class II or III district for state aid, budgeting, accreditation, enrollment of students, state programs, and reporting. Except as otherwise required by the department, the unified system shall submit a single report document for each of the reports required of school districts pursuant to Chapter 79 and shall submit a single budget document pursuant to the Nebraska Budget Act and sections 13-518 to 13-522. The class of district shall be the same as the majority of participating districts, excluding Class I districts. If there are an equal number of Class II and Class III districts in the unified system, the unified system shall be recognized by the department as a Class III district.
(4) The school districts participating in a unified system shall retain their separate identities for all purposes except those specified in this section, and participation in a unified system shall not be considered a reorganization.