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Over the past ten years, enrollment has grown by 5,111 students or 10.7 percent. Current enrollment is approximately 53,000 students. After the completion of the 2014 bond program (Phase 1 of the 2014 Capital Facilities Plan), the Omaha Public Schools will require more than 175 portables to provide classrooms to help alleviate overcrowding.
Prior to the 2014 bond issue being passed, the district had not passed a bond for renovations in more than 15 years. Without additional funding, the district was unable to keep up with the increasing number of students or the needed upkeep to school buildings. During the development of the 2014 Capital Facilities Plan, the district identified needs greater than $1 billion dollars. Given the amount of need, the facilities plan was divided into two phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 (the $421 million 2014 bond issue) was approved by voters in November 2014 and provided the funds necessary to address safety, security and technology needs, modernize building systems (mechanical/electrical), replace four schools, modify the ‘open plan’ concept at the elementary schools, add additions to five schools and purchase land for new schools that would be built under the Phase 2 plan. The proposed Phase 2 bond would complete work identified in the 2014 Capital Facilities Plan that includes capital improvements and renovations at nine elementary schools, two middle schools, additions to schools where needed and build five new schools to help alleviate overcrowding in OPS schools.
The district would have to use its general fund dollars to maintain all of its facilities as best as possible and continue using portable classrooms to help manage the growing enrollment. Critical building components including but not limited to boilers, chillers, air handling units and roofs could not be replaced, nor would there be funding to build the five new schools proposed under Phase 2 that would help alleviate overcrowding in many OPS schools.
Yes. The CBOC committee was established to provide oversight of the 2014 bond program and they will continue to provide oversight for Phase 1 and Phase 2, if the proposed bond passes. The committee meets monthly to ensure that the bond is: completed consistent with the commitment made to the community, managed within the appropriate scope, budget and schedule, consistent with the needs of the district and in support of the district’s strategic plan.