79-458. School district; tract of land set off from district; petition; conditions; procedure; appeal.

(1) Any freeholder or freeholders, person in possession or constructive possession as vendee pursuant to a contract of sale of the fee, holder of a school land lease under section 72-232, or entrant upon government land who has not yet received a patent therefor may file a petition on or before June 1 for all other years with a board consisting of the county assessor, county clerk, and county treasurer, asking to have any tract or tracts of land described in the petition set off from an existing school district in which the land is situated and attached to a different school district which is contiguous to such tract or tracts of land if:

(a)(i) The school district in which the land is situated is a Class II or III school district which has had an average daily membership in grades nine through twelve of less than sixty for the two consecutive school fiscal years immediately preceding the filing of the petition;

(ii) Such Class II or III school district has voted pursuant to section 77-3444 to exceed the maximum levy established pursuant to subdivision (2)(a) of section 77-3442, which vote is effective for the school fiscal year in which the petition is filed or for the following school fiscal year;

(iii) The high school in such Class II or III school district is within fifteen miles on a maintained public highway or maintained public road of another public high school; and

(iv) Neither school district is a member of a learning community; or

(b) Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, the school district in which the land is situated, regardless of the class of school district, has approved a budget for the school fiscal year in which the petition is filed that will cause the combined levies for such school fiscal year, except levies for bonded indebtedness approved by the voters of such school district and levies for the refinancing of such bonded indebtedness, to exceed the greater of (i) one dollar and twenty cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation of property subject to the levy or (ii) the maximum levy authorized by a vote pursuant to section 77-3444.

For purposes of determining whether a tract of land is contiguous, all petitions currently being considered by the board shall be considered together as a whole.

(2) The petition shall state the reasons for the proposed change and shall show with reference to the land of each petitioner: (a) That (i) the land described in the petition is either owned by the petitioner or petitioners or that he, she, or they hold a school land lease under section 72-232, are in possession or constructive possession as vendee under a contract of sale of the fee simple interest, or have made an entry on government land but have not yet received a patent therefor and (ii) such tract of land includes all such contiguous land owned or controlled by each petitioner; (b) that the conditions of subdivision (1)(a) or (1)(b) of this section have been met; and (c) that such petition is approved by a majority of the members of the school board of the district to which such land is sought to be attached.

(3) The petition shall be verified by the oath of each petitioner. Notice of the filing of the petition and of the hearing on such petition before the board constituted as prescribed in subsection (1) or (4) of this section shall be given at least ten days prior to the date of such hearing by one publication in a legal newspaper of general circulation in each district and by posting a notice on the outer door of the schoolhouse in each district affected thereby, and such notice shall designate the territory to be transferred. Following the filing of a petition pursuant to this section, such board shall hold a public hearing on the petition and shall approve or disapprove the petition on or before July 15 following the filing of the petition based on a determination of whether the petitioner has complied with all requirements of this section. If such board approves the petition, such board shall change the boundaries of the school districts so as to set off the land described in the petition and attach it to such district pursuant to the petition with an effective date of August 15 following the filing of the petition, which actions shall cause such transfer to be in effect for levies set for the year in which such transfer takes effect.

(4) Petitions requesting transfers of property across county lines shall be addressed jointly to the county clerks of the counties concerned, and the petitions shall be acted upon by the county assessors, county clerks, and county treasurers of the counties involved as one board, with the county clerk of the county from which the land is sought to be transferred acting as chairperson of the board.

(5) Appeals may be taken from the action of such board or, when such board fails to act on the petition, on or before August 1 following the filing of the petition, to the district court of the county in which the land is located on or before August 10 following the filing of the petition, in the same manner as appeals are now taken from the action of the county board in the allowance or disallowance of claims against the county. If an appeal is taken from the action of the board approving the petition or failing to act on the petition, the transfer shall occur effective August 15 following the filing of the petition, which actions shall cause such transfer to be in effect for levies set for the year in which such transfer takes effect, unless action by the district court prevents such transfer.

(6) This section does not apply to any school district located on an Indian reservation and substantially or totally financed by the federal government.

(7) For school districts that have approved a budget for school fiscal year 2007-08 that will cause the combined levies, except levies for bonded indebtedness approved by the voters of the school district and levies for the refinancing of such bonded indebtedness, to exceed the greater of (a) one dollar and twenty cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation of property subject to the levy or (b) the maximum levy authorized by a vote pursuant to section 77-3444, the school boards of such school districts may adopt a binding resolution stating that the combined levies, except levies for bonded indebtedness approved by the voters of the school district and levies for the refinancing of such bonded indebtedness, for school fiscal year 2008-09 shall not exceed the greater of (i) one dollar and twenty cents per one hundred dollars of taxable valuation of property subject to the levy or (ii) the maximum levy authorized by a vote pursuant to section 77-3444. On or before May 9, 2008, such binding resolutions shall be filed with the Auditor of Public Accounts and the county assessors, county clerks, and county treasurers for all counties in which the school district has territory. If such binding resolution is filed on or before May 9, 2008, land shall not be set off and attached to another district pursuant to subdivision (2)(b) of this section in 2008.

(8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to detach obligations for voter-approved bonds from any tract of land.

Source:Laws 1996, LB 900, § 207; Laws 1997, LB 710, § 3; Laws 1997, LB 806, § 22; Laws 1998, Spec. Sess., LB 1, § 11; Laws 1999, LB 272, § 58; Laws 2001, LB 797, § 10; Laws 2006, LB 1024, § 43; Laws 2007, LB219, § 1; Laws 2008, LB988, § 4.

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