Lawmakers give final approval to bill reorganizing OPS board

Feb 11, 2013

A new law will reduce the size of the Omaha Public Schools board to nine members.

LB125 passed Monday on a 44-4 vote and was signed by Governor Dave Heineman. The bill reorganizes the OPS board, with elections for the nine seats to be held along with Omaha’s city elections April 2 and May 14. Senator Scott Lautenbaugh sponsored the legislation and says he’s satisfied with the outcome.

"My preference has always been for seven because that seems like a more common number. I still think moving it to nine will make a difference regarding the perception that being one of nine if you run for this office isn’t as daunting as being one of 12."

OPS board president Marian Fey says they weren’t surprised by the Legislature’s vote, and will move forward with school district business.

"It’s my understanding that this board will proceed until the new board is seated, which I believe the bill says, or the law says, will be in June. So that’s my understanding and we’ll just keep doing what we do everyday."

The boundaries for the nine new districts are drawn by the Legislature. The filing deadline for the nine OPS board seats will be March 1, the same as for the Omaha Mayoral and city council elections.

Following this year’s elections, half the OPS board will be up for election in 2014, with elections for the other half of the board in 2016.