First-round approval given to bill reducing the size of the OPS board

Jan 31, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An overhaul bill to shrink the Omaha Public Schools board has won first-round approval in the Nebraska Legislature.

Lawmakers advanced the measure on Thursday, 37-4. The bill would reduce the 12-member board to nine members, and set school board elections on dates that coincide with Omaha's city elections.

The measure by Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha would also repeal a requirement that members take their oath of office by a specific date, or have their seats declared vacant. The requirement created a legal problem for the board, because four new members and two who were recently re-elected missed the deadline.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced Monday that he planned to file a legal challenge to prevent the members from taking office. Kleine argued that the seats are now vacant.

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