Bill would cut OPS board to nine members

Jan 11, 2013

A State Senator from Omaha has once again introduced a bill to reduce the size of the Omaha Public Schools board.

Senator Scott Lautenbaugh introduced the legislation Friday. It would cut the board from its current 12 members to nine. If approved by the Unicameral, voters would choose the new members in May during Omaha’s city elections.

Last session, Lautenbaugh unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill reducing the OPS board to seven members. Lautenbaugh says he believes there needs to be change within OPS. “I’m a supporter of OPS, my kids go to OPS, I don’t have a vendetta against OPS, I’m trying to improve it. And I think this latest fiasco just suggests that we need to clean house at the top and start over.”

A report in Friday’s Omaha World-Herald suggested the OPS board may have violated state law regarding the swearing-in of new board members. The Board of Education has four new members. Freddie Gray and Mary Morrissey were re-elected.

OPS spokesman David Patton says in a statement that officials plan to review the bill. Lautenbaugh’s bill would also limit board members to two terms.

A spokeswoman for the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office says any decision on whether OPS violated state law will be made at the local level.