Several days away from the Omaha school board filing deadline, multiple groups continue to recruit candidates to add to the ballot.
The groups consist of “genuinely concerned members of our community,” said Ken Bird, president of Avenue Scholars. He declined to name specific groups. “It's critical that the community responded.”
As of Monday evening, 15 people had either filed or said they plan to run for the April 2 primary. All nine board seats are up for election.
OPS is having an election this spring because of Legislative Bill 125, which became law earlier this month. The law shrinks the board from 12 members to nine. It also forced an April primary and May election, with the board returning to staggered elections in the future.
People in even-numbered districts will face re-election in 2014 and every four years thereafter. Odd-numbered districts will be on a four-year cycle starting in 2016.
The bill was introduced by Omaha State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, who wanted a more efficient and effective board. He also said recent controversies showed change was needed.
Recent events also encouraged one new candidate to file.
Eric L. Ewing, the younger brother of Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing, will run in Subdistrict 4.
“I know there's been a lot of turmoil with our school board,” he said, “and I think that by me running, I feel that I can add some stability to the board.”
Candidates have until 5 p.m. Friday to file.
Here's a look at who has filed in the nine subdistricts:
SUBDISTRICT 1: Incumbent Nicole Walker-Nash has said she is considering running again. She has not yet filed and could not be reached for comment Monday. She was elected to the board in November, having run unopposed. James English, a retired OPS teacher and administrator who lost to former board President Freddie Gray in November, has filed.
SUBDISTRICT 2: Incumbent Shirley Tyree has not shared her election plans. She couldn't be reached Monday. Niokia Stewart has filed.
SUBDISTRICT 3: Incumbents Marian Fey and Bambi Bartek could run against each other. Fey has filed; Bartek said Monday she was undecided. Omaha attorney Woody Bradford also has said he would run, although he has not yet filed.
SUBDISTRICT 4: Incumbent Justin Wayne is running again. Eric L. Ewing also has filed.
SUBDISTRICT 5: Incumbent Jennifer Tompkins Kirshenbaum has filed to run again. She was elected in November, defeating former Omaha State Sen. Patrick Bourne by 131 votes. She has three challengers to date: Scott Zimmerman, administrator for a private early childhood educational facility; Lou Ann Goding; and Angel D. Martin.
SUBDISTRICT 6: Incumbent Nancy Kratky has filed for re-election. Barbara Daughton, a retired OPS administrator and teacher, also has filed.
SUBDISTRICT 7: Incumbent Danyelle Baratta has filed for re-election. She was elected in November. Katie Underwood, project manager with Olsson Associates, also has filed.
SUBDISTRICT 8: Incumbent Barbara Velázquez has declined to share her re-election plans. She could not be reached Monday. No one had filed for the seat as of Monday evening.
SUBDISTRICT 9: Incumbents Mary Morrissey and Sarah Brumfield could run against each other. Morrissey could not be reached Monday; Brumfield has filed.
World-Herald chief librarian Jeanne Hauser contributed to this report.
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