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Reaction to OPS losing superintendent candidates

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Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-19 23:33:05-04

The future of Omaha Public Schools is, once again, uncertain after the remaining two finalists in the running for superintendent withdrew themselves from consideration. 

The two final candidates had been boiled down from a pool of 33.

They issued a statement Saturday saying they didn't want the job leading the state's largest school district.  

"It's very disappointing,” said Tina Gardner, Omaha grandparent. “It's sad, very sad because there should be someone willing to step up and do the job."

Gardner has four grandkids in OPS, her kids went to OPS and so did she.

She says she’s surprised that the district is having a hard time finding someone to replace Mark Evans, who could retire at the end of the school year.

"A little bit because I thought someone would be ready to do the job,” Gardner said.

Gardner says she's hopeful the district will hire someone soon.

"I'm sure there's somebody in the OPS system that can get out there and do the job and put OPS back together like it should be.”

Like Gardner, parent Shantisa Curtis, Omaha, says lack of communication in the district is part of why they're having problems finding someone to replace Evans.

“The number one thing to breaking barriers in making a change is communication,” Curtis said. “The biggest thing about communication is that everybody wants to talk but they never listen.”

Parent Damon Starks, Omaha, says the district needs to find someone from within.

The three original final candidates were from outside Omaha.

"The person who's been in Omaha, the majority of their life, knows about Omaha,” Starks said. “Out of towners only know what they hear about Omaha.”

The district released a statement Saturday, "the board remains committed to finding the strongest possible candidate to serve as our superintendent. We will meet Monday at our regularly scheduled board meeting as planned, and we will discuss next steps."

The final candidates said they "understand the need for a supportive relationship between any board and its chief executive."

They say neither of them "engendered such support from Omaha Public Schools."