Officials with the city of Owensboro and Daviess County Public Schools have reached a draft agreement by which the city will annex several school properties without burdening district employees with higher occupational tax rates.

DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins told the Messenger-Inquirer on Monday that the agreement will now go before elected representatives for their input before it is formally introduced for approval.

"I ... have provided our board a negotiated, draft agreement for their review and for discussion," he said in a prepared statement. "We are not negotiating any item at present but that could happen, pending decisionmakers' review."

City Manager Nate Pagan confirmed that he and Robbins have agreed to a draft contract with "general bullet points" and that city commissioners and members of the Daviess County Board of Education are currently reviewing them. He said he doesn't expect the Owensboro City Commission to take up the agreement until at least July.

This latest development may signal the end to a tense few weeks between the city and Daviess County educators who came out in force last month against the city's proposals to annex several district school sites and support facilities. Against strong opposition -- even from Robbins and a board of education representative -- the city approved those annexation ordinances two weeks ago with the promise that a deal to make employees whole would soon follow.

Since then, sources close to the negotiations have said that an agreement would involve the city reimbursing the district with tax increment financing dollars to subsidize their employees and create net-even take-home pay. What remained unclear, as of last week, was what, albeit small, share of occupational tax dollars the district could be owed, how the city would help finance school resource officers and a timeline for the allocation of funds.

Neither Robbins nor Pagan would disclose what the terms of the draft agreement are.

"We are discussing this with the board and, pending their input and any further changes, will let the media know by (the) end of (the) week," Robbins said in a statement. "Things are progressing well."

Owensboro will annex Apollo and Daviess County high schools, Burns Middle School, Burns and Highland elementary schools and the future site of the relocated Daviess County Middle School as well as the district central office and transportation and maintenance department headquarters.

Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, aramsey@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey

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