Monday, October 28, 2002


According to p. 50 of the 2002-03 budget of the Omaha Public Schools, posted online at www.ops.org:

-- OPS is spending $15,419.82 per pupil this year.

-- OPS is spending $306,935 per classroom.

-- OPS is spending $8.7 million per school.

The total OPS budget reported to the State of Nebraska comes to $705,950,424. Key pieces of that are the $331 million operating budget and $230 million in construction spending. The rest goes for everything from debt service to school lunches to contingencies. OPS reports 2,300 classrooms and 81 schools.

Also note that, according to financial reports OPS makes to the state, it has $88.7 million in its various cash funds.

The latest test scores from the 22 OPS schools that are in the lower-income neighborhoods of the city reveal some difficult truths about academic achievement, despite that level of spending. In some fifth and sixth grades, two-thirds of the children scored below the 23rd percentile in reading on the California Achievement Test. Black children in the inner city scored nearly 40 percentile points below the average of all white children within OPS.

The figures show, once again, that more spending does not translate into better learning. It's not the money; it's the method. By giving OPS more money, you perpetuate a method that clearly doesn't work. The test scores caused one of Omaha's most faithful and financially generous school supporters, Jerry Hoberman, to sigh: "It's unacceptable where we're at now. We're failing the children."

The truth hurts. Another tax increase would, too.

Does that put things in better perspective for the Nov. 5 decision on OPS' request for another property tax increase, and more money?

Don't feel guilty.
They've been greedy
For themselves,
And not the needy.

Vote "NO" to the OPS tax increase.

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