We must vote!

It’s time to change the mindset in our community. Unfortunately, too many African-Americans are not voting in local and state elections at the same level that they do for national elections. African-Americans voted in record numbers to elect President Barack Obama. These same voters have the power to determine the outcome of local and state elections if they come out in large numbers.

The upcoming election is vitally important. Not only are there competitive races for Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and other county and state races, but there are important issues on the ballot that will have a major and direct impact on you and your community.

Do you want to improve the schools in your neighborhood and city? Do you want to increase wages for workers? Do you want to see your community improved? Do you want your tax dollars used to fix roads, improve housing, reduce violence, address justice issues, and generate more jobs and businesses in your neighborhood?

Whether we realize it or not, local and state elections have the greatest impact on our daily lives. Elected officials determine where dollars are focused.

Also, be sure to vote up and down the entire ballot. There are important issues that have a significant impact on our community at the bottom of the ballot.

Don’t complain if you don’t vote. SPEAK your mind with your VOTE! RAISE THE VOTE! Get educated on the candidates and issues. Register, vote and make sure others get to the polls.

OPS Board moves forward with historic vote to improve schools… now in the hands of voters.

Following months of meetings with the community, parents, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders, the Omaha Public Schools Board unanimously approved putting a $421 million bond referendum before the public. It’s the first bond approved by the OPS board in over 15 years. In comparison, other school districts in the area have approved several bonds at a much higher rate per student within that time frame.

In reviewing the bond proposal, it’s easy to see the need to have doors on classrooms, replace aging heating systems and window air conditioning units, improve access to technology for all students, and address overcrowding issues and use of portables in many schools across the district. In their efforts to keep improving academic performance for all students and closing the achievement gaps between racial groups, these much needed improvements must move forward.

The historic OPS vote prioritizes safety, security, technology and badly needed repairs in the elementary, middle and high schools throughout the district. The initial assessment of building improvement needs was over $1.1 billion. The board worked with the community and other stakeholders to reduce the size of the request and also decided to do it in Phases.
The OPS district has agreed on aggressive academic achievement goals for the next five years through the newly approved strategic plan. Over the past 10 years, OPS has made measurable improvements by improving graduation rates; increasing reading, math and science scores; increasing school attendance ; and, reducing drop-out rates. The building repairs, improvements and investments identified in the bond proposal are an important part of what is needed to help accelerate the rate of success and prepare students for careers, college and life.

51,000 students attend Omaha Public Schools. The success of these students will help determine the future of Omaha. It’s in the best interest of all residents in the metro area and state of Nebraska to make sure these students have the best opportunities available to them. Be sure to support our children on November 4, 2014! Every child deserves a quality education in a safe, secure building with the proper technology to succeed.