State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha announced Thursday he will pursue several measures in the upcoming Nebraska legislative session to reform education in OPS and perhaps statewide.
“Recent events involving the Omaha Public School District Board, its superintendent search, the outgoing superintendent’s lavish and apparently unknown compensation package and the ongoing sense of chaos and under performance by the board and/or the district have convinced me more than ever that change is needed within OPS. I do plan to bring several measures next session to address these issues.”
Lautenbaugh's proposals include reducing the number of OPS board members to seven. He believes 12 members make the board ineffective in setting policy, managing the administration and bringing about change.
He wants the board to abandon its self-imposed December deadline to hire a new superintendent, saying many of the embarrassments of the board are too fresh and quality candidates will not apply in this environment.
Lautenbaugh plans to introduce legislation authorizing charter schools in Nebraska. He says in some areas of OPS, schools may be under performing more than in others and charter schools could provide another opportunity for parents looking for better educational choices for their children.
He will pursue a clearer, swifter mechanism for the state to step in and run schools that are deemed to be failing. Lautenbaugh says in OPS especially, there is a tendency to resist change and perhaps preserve administrators who are not up to par.
Sen. Lautenbaugh says he was appalled by the expense of outgoing OPS Superintendent John Mackiel's compensation package. Laughtenbaugh finds administration salaries excessive along with the overall number of non-teachers. He wants to set limits on administrative compensation packages.