Four people have applied to become the next representative of downtown and South Omaha on the Omaha Public Schools board.

They will interview before the OPS board tonight, and one will be chosen to fill the Subdistrict 9 seat vacated by Vinny Palermo. Palermo was elected to the Omaha City Council in May and resigned from the OPS board this month.

The term runs through Dec. 31, 2020.

Whoever is appointed will have to hit the ground running — the OPS board has plenty of big issues on its plate.

In coming months, the board is expected to restart its failed superintendent search, roll out a new student assignment plan in August and possibly move forward on another bond referendum to repair older schools and build new ones.

The applicants are:

» Tracy Casady, an office/human resource manager at SL Jensen Construction. Casady is a South High graduate and has three daughters, two of whom attend OPS schools. She is a member of the parent-teacher organization at Gomez Heritage Elementary School.

» Shannan Garcia, a bilingual school community liaison at Boys Town. Garcia is a South High graduate, and her daughter attended OPS schools. She previously worked at Marrs Magnet Middle School as a site director with the Completely Kids after-school program and was the director of education for the Latino Center of the Midlands.

» Erik Servellon, an election board coordinator at the Douglas County Election Commission. Servellon graduated from Central High and is a first-generation American. He was deployed to Afghanistan from May 2016 to April 2017 as a member of the Nebraska National Guard.

» Victor Slape, a transportation supervisor at Metro Transit. Slape also works part time as a school bus driver for Student Transportation of America, the OPS busing contractor. Slape’s children attended OPS, and his grandchildren attend Central High and Castelar Elementary, where he is an active volunteer.

Applicants were asked to identify why they wanted to serve on the school board and the three most pressing issues in education today. The candidates named issues such as school funding, bullying, maintaining equality in an increasingly diverse school district, student behavior and mental health, and growing class sizes.

The board meeting is open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. at the Teacher Administrative Center.

erin.duffy@owh.com, 402-444-1210

Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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