OPS Budgeting After Bond

Paige Anthony, News Editor

On Wednesday Dec. 4th, a meeting at Alfonza W. Davis was held to discuss plans for a potential high school off 156th and Ida.  

Cheryl Logan, OPS superintendent, spoke at the meeting and discussed how much a school was needed in Northwest Omaha. 

After the submission of a $409.9 million OPS bond in May 2018, plans to build five new schools in the district began.   

The construction of the high school in South Omaha off 60th and L Street will help combat overcrowding in South High School and Bryan High School.  

The capacity of the new schools will be 1,500. Burke High School and South High Magnet School are teaching capacity with over 2,000 students enrolled. 

Connie Knoche, a Chief Financial Officer for OPS, estimated the opening of new schools could cost OPS an additional $39.2 million a year to operate the new schools.  

The construction of the high school in Northwest Omaha will help OPS keep suburban families in the district, discouraging them from opting into private schools or Bennington and Elkhorn High Schools. 

The Northwest site will sit on about 73 acres of land, according to the OPS website. The school will have a joint YMCA facility with a pool, fitness center, etc. Classrooms in the schools will be called “studios” and will each have multiple purposes throughout the school day. 

The school off 156th and Ida will have two floors, whereas the school off 60th and L will have three. 

As schools open, some existing teachers will move with students to the new schools.  

When the schools open, not all grades will be available. By staggering the grades the first year or two, operational costs can be lessened.  

An in-depth analysis made by The Omaha World Herald revealed that the mistakes made by OSERS, a pension program for teachers in OPS, has produced almost $500 million in losses. These losses began in 2008 with budgetary mistakes following the stock market plunge. 

This budget burden may fall upon OPS students as budget cuts could be in the near future to combat the district’s debt.