Teachers in the Omaha Public Schools have found some common ground with the Omaha business community on which candidates to back for school board.
The Omaha Education Association, which represents OPS teachers, threw its support this week behind Yolanda Williams, Marque Snow, Marian Fey, Justin Wayne, Lou Ann Goding, Nancy Kratky and Matt Scanlan.
The recommendations were made for the races in Subdistricts 1 through 6. The union is expected make additional recommendations in Subdistricts 7 through 9 next week.
Some of the union-backed candidates, but not all, are also backed by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce in the May 14 general election.
The chamber's new political action committee donated money to Wayne, Goding, Snow and Scanlan in the primary.
The chamber recruited Woody Bradford, who is running against Fey, but he did not seek financial help in the primary.
“The people that the chamber is supporting, by and large, are very pro-public education,” union President Chris Proulx said.
Proulx said the union judged candidates on their view of public education and their support for the role teachers play in developing strong classrooms.
A union committee interviewed the candidates, and the union's political action committee approved the committee's recommendations. The recommended candidates are eligible to receive union PAC money, Proulx said.
Nationwide, he said, business-backed candidates often advocate for school privatization, vouchers and charter schools.
“We don't have that kind of a push being made by the chamber,” he said.
He said the close alignment of teachers and businesspeople reflects the chamber's desire to help improve the quality of education in the community.