Monday, October 28, 2002


Total spending, Omaha Public Schools, 2002-03: $705.9 million
Students: 45,782
Classrooms: 2,300
Schools: 81
Spending per pupil: $15,419.
Spending per classroom: $306,935
Spending per school: $8.7 million

(Source: ’02-’03 budget, www.ops.org)

People can vote “no” on the OPS spending-increase request Nov. 5 and still be “for the kids.”

Look again at the funding we’re already giving OPS. It’s not as if a “no” vote would be snatching chalk out of children’s hands and forcing classes to be held outside in tents. We’ve already been more than generous with OPS.

But recent test results are raising big questions about whether we’re getting the most out of our money and using the right methods of teaching reading, especially with regard to disadvantaged children. Too many inner-city OPS students are functionally illiterate despite high levels of school spending (World-Herald, Sept. 26).

It’s time OPS got the message that, while we support public education in general and we love kids, we’re not going to feel a bit guilty about saying “no” this time, and demanding more fiscal responsibility and accountability from them. That’s not being a Scrooge; that’s being smart.

You know, we taxpayers really are “for the kids.” But enough is enough. We’re for modeling good public policy and wise money management for them, too.

I feel so strongly about this, I feel a song coming on:

Taxpayers get a bad rap.
Schools treat us like a sap.
If more spending we forbid
They say we’re mean and we hate kids!

Yo! Bureaucrats!
That’s not fair. We’ve had enough.
We’re mad at you ‘cause kids aren’t reading up to snuff.

You’re so rigid;
So headstrong.
Could it be you’re teaching wrong?
The kids are fine,
But you nitwits
Turn ‘em into

You want
More of our dough


Wuzzup, bureaucracy?
You think money grows on trees?
Want us homies to pay MORE
Though your test scores hit the floor?

Get real!
First, you swing those budget axes.
Take that, bureaucrat.
We refuse to pay more taxes.

Millions are not what you need
To teach our children how to read.
‘Til you do your basic mission,
We aren’t raising your tuition.

You make schools most cost-effective
We will
Keep our dough and stay objective.

You have
No excuse for kids not reading.
You hurt
The disadvantaged and the needy.

Kids learn
With inexpensive, simple phonics,
They’re rich or poor, black, white, or onyx.

Ding dong, the school bell rang;
Kids can’t read! Someone should hang!
‘Stead of more money, hey, you slobs,
Maybe YOU should lose your JOBS!

Just foolin’. Keep on your pants.
We just want good schoolin’.
And we’ll give you another chance.

Stop this academic bleeding.
Just teach our children proper reading!

Umh! Umhgawa!
Taxpayers got the power!

Wake up!
Get hot!
Get the lead out of your

Help our schools out of this wreck.
Don’t just hand them a blank check!


-- Dedicated to longtime tax activist Ed Jaksha, an 80-something Omahan with the moves of a teenager when it comes to public policy and good citizenship. Go Big Ed!

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