In a move decried by some as state-sponsored segregation, the legislature voted Thursday to divide the Omaha school system into three districts — one mostly black, one predominantly white and one largely Hispanic.
tate Sen. Pat Bourne of Omaha decried the bill, saying, “We will go down in history as one of the first states in 20 years to set race relations back.”
“History will not, and should not, judge us kindly,” said state Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha.
There is no intent to create segregation,” said state Sen. Ernie Chambers (Omaha), the legislature’s only black senator and a longtime critic of the school system.
He argued that the district is already segregated, because it no longer buses students for integration and instead requires them to attend their neighborhood school.
Chambers said the schools attended largely by minorities lack the resources and well-qualified teachers provided others in the district. He said the black students he represents in north Omaha would receive a better education if they had more control over their district.