Wednesday, January 04, 2012
MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING FOR OPS;
BEST URBAN DISTRICTS HAVE 5, 7 or 9 BOARD MEMBERS, NOT 12
I keep humming that song about "Luckenbach, Texas, with Willie and Waylon and the boys" every time I think about the proposal by Omaha State Sen. Scott Luckenbach . . . darn, there I go again . . . LAUTENBAUGH to reduce the size of the board of the Omaha Public Schools.
There are 12 people on it now. They are unpaid. Some have been on the board for many terms. Most of them are devoid of business experience. They are mired in groupthink and rarely, if ever, vote against what the OPS management wants. It's a pretty sad, strange situation.
But some people are grousing about Lautenbaugh's proposal in the Unicam to reduce the number from 12 to 5, and to pay each person $20,000 in order to get more people with business experience. Under his proposal, board members would be limited to two 4-year terms, which might reduce the groupthink, and reduce the power of the superintendent over the board representatives, since they won't be serving for long.
I was wondering what to think about this, recognizing that the Omaha City Council and the Douglas County Board each has seven members, as does the state's second-largest school district, the Lincoln Public Schools. OPPD and MUD have eight members each. But a lot of very well-run big businesses in the Omaha area have 11 or more directors, including the Union Pacific, ConAgra and Berkshire Hathaway.
So I was leaning toward liking Luckenbach . . . I mean, LAUTENBAUGH's . . . idea, only upping it to seven board members instead of five. Even at that, a lot of pro-OPS people will squawk. They want to keep the status quo, I guess.
But here comes the smoking gun that backs up Lautenbaugh -- there, I got it right the first time -- and establishes that the most successful urban school districts in the nation have a school board of five, seven or nine members. And here's the proof:
So if the unsuccessful scores OPS is havin' has got us feudin' like the Hatfields and McCoys . . . maybe it's time we got back to the basics (not of love, but of sound school governance) -- and pass that smart proposal in the Unicam 'fore we got blue eyes cryin' in the rain. . . . :>)
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