School Board Under The Microscope

The Omaha School Board needs to figure out how to testify when LB 125 is discussed in the Nebraska Legislature. The bill calls for school boards like OPS to be reduced from 12 members to nine. It also calls for term limits and a quick new election that would be attached to the 2013 election cycle.

Some OPS board members believe the legislative bill is just a witch hunt designed to beat up the school board. Others believe the board brought some of the attention upon itself with questionable superintendent searches, big retirement payouts and a resigning school board president who has made headlines.

“The school board has been in the paper and on the media for a lot of unfavorable things, so I think there are things we could have done for us to be in a better position,” says board member Nicole Walker Nash.

"This is not good for the kids, nowhere in this are the kids, the kids aren't even in this bill, this is all about bashing OPS,” says board member Bambi Bartek.

There is some opposition on the board over term limits. There's also concern for a quick reelection of school board members and altering the election cycle to match up school board elections with upcoming city elections. Both points are written into the bill.

"This bill overrides the voice of the voters and I ask all elected officials, after you went through the whole process and then a bill comes by and says we're gonna have a do-over, how would you react,” says board member Jennifer Tompkins Kirshenbaum. "I think this happens like in other countries.”

"I think if we take a bold stand of just being against it, instead of trying to publicly support it or at least not take a stance,” says board member Justin Wayne. “This all could backfire and we could be back where we were with the slitting or splitting OPS completely."

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