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Board of Education looks ahead during Planning, Finance committee meetings
Updates on some of the major construction projects at Lincoln Public Schools, and on the preliminary 2012-13 LPS budget, were presented to Lincoln Board of Education committees Thursday.
School Board Planning Committee
An update on some of the major construction projects at Lincoln Public Schools was presented to the Planning Committee of the Lincoln Board of Education Thursday.
LPS District Office building at 59th and O streets
- Some of the major building blocks, the architectural precast panels, will arrive during the week of July 16.
- The skeletal framework of the building will rise quickly, transforming the structure into a finished-looking product.
- The geothermal borings are about half done (ahead of schedule).
- The basement and foundation are now being weather-proofed.
- The basement under-floor plumbing and electrical are going in, so the floor slab can be poured.
- The building interior design continues to develop for the final bid package to be tentatively approved in early August.
The space in the office building designed for Board of Education meetings is still under discussion, with Board members stressing a flexible use of the area to accommodate staff development as well as staff and community meetings.
The new LPS Data Center – located across the street from Lincoln High School – should be substantially complete by mid-July. A plan for the Print Shop/Copy Center, to be located at the LPS Distribution Center, will be ready for review by mid-July. Completion date is scheduled for the summer of 2013.
Ten-Year Facility Plan
The school district and Board of Education are beginning to discuss a process to develop an updated ten-year facility plan that will frame a possible bond issue in the coming years.
The school district will likely utilize some kind of broad-based community group to help them collectively develop a plan.
"We need to talk about how we begin this conversation," said Superintendent Steve Joel. "My experience is that it takes at least a year."
The discussion will also involve consideration of a high school vocational education/career academy for the school district to open later this decade.
School Board Finance Committee
School Board members continued the conversation about a $330 million preliminary 2012-13 General Fund budget for Lincoln Public Schools at a Board Finance Committee on Thursday.
A few reminders about the budget:
- Taking into consideration Lincoln's taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district will keep the total tax levy flat – the lowest tax levy in the past 40 years for the third consecutive year. The budget represents a 2.86 percent increase over last year.
- Due to anticipated increases in assessed property valuation for the community, the school district plans to pay for some additional staff to partially fund for student growth. In the past five years LPS student enrollment has seen significant increases while the school district has not fully funded for that growth.
- The Legislature passed LB131 this past session to provide additional funding for special education in the state, allowing LPS to restore some of the reductions in special education expenditures.
- The school district currently ranks 238th out of 251 school districts in Nebraska for per pupil spending. The Omaha Public Schools district is ranked 219th.
- About 55 percent of the LPS budget is funded by local property taxes, 35 percent with state funds (state aid and special education support), and the remainder with other local, state and federal resources.
A budget work session for the School Board is set for: 6 p.m. July 17 in the Bryan Focus Program at Hawthorne, 48th and O streets.
A series of common questions and answers about the proposed budget will be added to the LPS website after the July 17 work session.
For more information go to: http://www.lps.org/about/budget/.
Published: July 5, 2012
Updated: July 6, 2012