Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 6/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools: 

Highlights of 6/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a Community Budget Forum and a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 27 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold a second Community Budget Forum Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St.  The Board will hold a Budget Work Session at 4 p.m. July 11, and its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on July 25. 

Highlights of 6/27 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

Evaluations, contracts approved

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved the evaluation and contract for Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel, as well as contracts for the top administrators at LPS. 

Referring to Joel’s evaluation:

  • Board member Kathy Danek: “Sometimes your job is not fun, but we appreciate all you do for Lincoln Public Schools and for the students of Lincoln.”
  • Board member Connie Duncan: “This is a 24-hour-a-day, seven days a week job, so I thank you for all that you do.”

For the coming school year, base annual salaries will be:

  • Steve Joel: $317,239
  • Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction: $222,274
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs: $209,359
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources: $209,359
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations, $183,525

LPS to move toward new Business/Human Resources platform

The Board voted to approve a contract that would lead to the creation of a new platform for Business and Human Resources functions, called the Enterprise Resource Planning Project (ERP). Major financing will come from the Depreciation Fund. 

This new $6.5 million platform will replace the AS 400 Financial/HR system.  The move will involve considerable work, but moving to a new data system for LPS Business and HR functions will eliminate many of the current stand-alone manual spreadsheet recording functions, which now require significant data input and manual processes. This is software that provides for the back office functions that support a school district:  accounting, payroll, benefits, staffing, budgeting, finance tracking and projects, employee self-service, etc.

Elementary boundary change

The Board authorized an elementary school boundary change focused on growth in the Firethorn area near 84th Street and Pioneers Boulevard.  To eliminate neighborhood homes and single lots being located within two different elementary attendance areas: Beginning with the 2017-18 school year and continuing until further modified, the Morley Elementary School boundary will conclude at 84th street, and the Pyrtle Elementary School attendance area will run along 84th and Pioneers. 

New transportation plan

The Board passed a transportation plan for the coming school year, with these changes:

  • Add special education education transportation to the new Marilyn Moore Middle School.
  • Additional Early Childhood bus runs to Cavett, Elliott and Wysong elementary schools.
  • Additional runs for Scott Middle School.

Homeless children  

The Board approved submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $44,000 – to help support the salary of the Homeless Outreach Advocate at LPS and to pay transportation costs for homeless children to attend school.  The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school.  

LPS policy

The Board approved policy changes for the wellness policy and several slight changes in policies related to Board Operating Procedures.

LPS completed process of refunding 2009 bonds

“We had very favorable results, better than we anticipated,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, “so we have great news tonight.”

Following previous approval from the Board of Education, LPS officials reported that LPS had completed the process of issuing bonds related to the advanced refunding of the general obligation school bonds originally issued on February 11, 2009.  The school district issued around $80 million of refunding bonds.  Based on very favorable market conditions, the net present value savings (as a percentage of refunded bonds) was 16 percent or about $13.6 million.  The present value savings represent interest cost savings to the taxpayers.

Pay rates for subs and misc. employees

The Board of Education approved 2017-18 pay rates for substitutes and misc. employees. The salary increases range from no increase to a 2.89 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions. 

Legislative guidelines

The Board considered annual Legislative guidelines that provide guidance to school district staff and representatives – on proposed legislation or policy – communicating with governmental bodies when it is not possible to survey the Governmental Relations Subcommittee. The final vote is July 25.

Student Celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized two recent graduates – representing the entire class of 2017 – who presented portions of their high school graduation speeches:

  • Ruben Aguilar, Lincoln North Star High School
  • Nebraska Grayson, Lincoln East High School

Highlights of 6/27 Community Budget Forum

LPS officials Tuesday presented the Preliminary Budget for 2017-18 and asked for community comments.  The 2017-18 LPS preliminary budget is very student-focused and addresses a variety of factors but is focused on the incredible growth in our school district – in student numbers and student needs.

“We always say we grow a middle school a year, but we are not just growing a middle school – we are growing an incredibly diverse middle school,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs for LPS.

Budget factors include:  

  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or 4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year – every year. 
  • Student needs are growing as well – with an eye on growth in English Language Learners (immigrants and refugees), as well as Early Childhood students.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students: specifically addressing mental health needs, early childhood, special education and more.

Officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The 2017-18 preliminary budget for LPS totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.  Last year, the LPS budget increased 5.95 percent to keep pace with the growing student population and growing student needs.

According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 228 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – spending $10,842 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,901.

A second Community Budget Forum is scheduled for: Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St.

Budget work session materials located at:


Published: June 27, 2017, Updated: June 27, 2017