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School Board Over Haul: Lawmakers Push to Change Number of OPS Board Members

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Maureen Wurtz

OMAHA (KPTM)- A big change to the Omaha Public School Board, that's what some state lawmakers are pushing for.

"Our kids need help, and I think you've seen what would have been a full-throated opposition evaporate into nothing because it has to happen now," said Neb. State Senator, Scott Lautenbaugh.

"I've got a cousin that teaches in Omaha and they have a lot of issues," said Neb. State Senator, Norman Wallman. "I hate to pass a bill in here to regulate schools any more than they already are."

A debate took place in Lincoln Thursday as to whether or not to cut the school board in Omaha from twelve members to nine.

Nebraska State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh introduced the bill. "If OPS wants to change its board size, or have an election to cure this problem, they can't just go do that. They need us to do that, this is our responsibility." 

The bill passed through the first round of debates, 37-4.

During the discussion, Lautenbaugh said that the board may already be facing a re-election, after Douglas County Attorney, Don Kleine said he plans on taking legal action against the board. Kleine said five of the current members weren't sworn in on time.

That would mean a special election for OPS.

Parents said they are frustrated with all the changes. "They need to figure out what they are going to do and be consistent," said Vicki Best.

Lautenbaugh said by changing the number of people on the board, they could avoid a special election and legal action.

However, some parents said they want things to stay the same. "I just came back here from Stormlake, Iowa and my children were having a hard time there because they have ADHD, two of them. Now that they're here in Omaha schools, they've been doing great," said Melissa Ramirez.

The bill has two more rounds of debate, and if it goes all the way, OPS will be redistricted and people will vote in May.

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