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44 Days and Counting to Fill Empty School Board's Seat

44 Days and Counting to Fill Empty School Board's Seat

By Ashlee Pitzl. CREATED Jan 24, 2013

OMAHA, NE - The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education has 44 days to fill the seat left vacant this week by board president Freddie Gray.

Gray turned in her resignation Wednesday night, saying she's taking a job at a company that requires a lot of her time. She wouldn't say specifically where she's working, only that she will still be involved with youth.

On Wednesday night, the board moved quickly to name vice president Marian Fey as the new president.  They elected Mary Morrissey as the vice president.

But that still leaves the issue of the now empty seat for District 2.  According to state law, the board will appoint someone to the seat.  They have 45 days from the vacancy to fill the spot.

That leaves the person they choose in a potentially awkward position.  State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh has fast-tracked a bill in Lincoln that would downsize the OPS board from twelve members to nine.  He says the board can't accomplish a lot because there are so many members, and downsizing would also create less confusion.

If his bill passes, the district lines would be redrawn, and elections for nine members would take place this spring, to coincide with city elections.  If the OPS board waits the full 45 days to appoint someone to the vacant District 2 seat, the person would only be in office about a month before the elections.