Nebraska– On May 15, Omaha Public School’s (OPS) voters will decide whether to approve a $409.9 million Phase 2 bond issue. A major portion of the funding would be earmarked for building additions and new schools to relieve crowding at places like Highland and Spring Lake elementary schools and Lewis and Clark Middle School. Students are dealing with overcrowded classrooms, poor insulation from the cold, rodents, insects and rain. There are now roughly 226 portables spread across the district. The bond will help reduce, but not eliminate, the district’s use of portable classrooms. The district has been able to get rid of roughly 99 portables and that number would shrink to 65 if the bond is approved.
The district has already spent millions on school security features, renovations and rebuilding several older schools after voters approved a $421 million bond measure in 2014. Phase 2 revolves around creating more space by building new schools and expanding existing ones, especially in growing parts of the Omaha Public Schools district. Lewis and Clark, which has eight portables, would get a 15-classroom addition. Nine classrooms would be added on to Morton Magnet Middle, which has 13 portables outside. Two new high schools proposed for far northwest and South Omaha are pitched as relieving overcrowding at schools like South, Bryan and Burke. Bryan currently uses 13 portables, and Burke has 10.