Watchdog group questions OPS on pension gap

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A watchdog group says Omaha taxpayers could be in for a property tax increase to make up for the gap in the district’s pension plan.

One member of the group raised the question at Monday night's school board meeting.

The district’s pension plan is underfunded, and members of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom believes the district will turn to taxpayers to make up the shortfall.

OPS board members expect to hear a lot from the public at tonight’s meeting.

NTF President Doug Kagan plans to talk to the school board about the district’s underfunded pension.

“It’s only about 50 percent funded,” he said. “They have a $712 million hole in their budget because of that.”

“If you compare the OPS pension system with the pension systems operated by other school districts in Nebraska, you’ll see the other school district’s pension funds are much better funded than OPS.”

Kagan believes the OPS board will try to get the money needed from the pension from taxpayers.

“They’re looking to either make up this unfunded portion of the pension plan through either another bond issue or property tax hike, and we would oppose both of those,” Kagan said.

Kagan would like to see budget cuts make up for the pension shortfall, but he might get opposition from the classrooms on that suggestion.

With photographer Mike Plews.