Highlights of 6/12 Lincoln Board of Education: Community Budget Forum and Regular Board meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a Community Budget Forum and a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, June 12, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, June 26.  The Board has one regular meeting scheduled in July: July 31.

Highlights of Community Budget Forum

Citizen remarks

The Lincoln Board of Education hosted a Community Budget Forum Tuesday and presented a summary of the preliminary 2018-19 budget for Lincoln Pubic Schools.  There were no community members who attended to speak. To watch the Forum go to https://www.lps.org/about/board/.

Lincoln Public Schools invites community members into the development process of the 2018-19 budget in a variety of ways.  A second Community Budget Forum is scheduled: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 14, Lincoln Northeast High School, 2635 N. 63rd St.  A second Lincoln Board of Education budget work session is set for 4:30 p.m., June 26, at LPS District Office.  

Preliminary 2018-19 Lincoln Public Schools budget

Brief Summary: The Lincoln Public Schools 2018-19 preliminary budget proposal includes an overall one and one-half cent reduction in the property tax levy. 

The preliminary budget includes:

  •        Significant investments in safety and security measures.
  •        Staffing and programming increases to support substantial student growth (4,400 more students in past five years) – with a focus on the classroom. 

High-quality public schools at a reasonable price bring tremendous value to our community.  

Additional Information:  In the past five years LPS has grown 4,400 students – as well as growing in complexity of needs – while the tax levy has been reduced by two cents ($1.22 this year compared to $1.24 in 2013).

In the past month, the Board has reviewed about $31.7 million in increased needs and prioritized them, funding a preliminary $22.5 million of added needs. Tentatively funded are:

  •        Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added school counselors, social workers and health care workers.
  •        Security measures that include school resource officers at middle schools, broadened threat assessment, mental health supports, funding for Community Learning Centers, an additional security coordinator and funding to ensure a standard for security measures at the entrances of every school in the district.
  •        Funding for growth in additional areas such as instructional materials, technology needs, operations and transportation.

LPS has a solid process for budget development with a continued focus on stability in programming for students and families – and opportunity for community feedback.  LPS ranks 227 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – spending $11,274 per pupil compared to the state average of $12,230. 

The 2018-19 preliminary expenditure budget for LPS totals about $443 million, a 5.34 percent increase over the previous year. That budget is funded by several revenue streams, including two major sources: property taxes (estimated to grow 5.2 percent this year), and state aid to education, $20 million more than last year. 

Highlights of Board meeting

Proposed agreements with other employee groups

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday were presented with proposed 2018-19 agreements with additional employee groups that include: Administrators, Custodial Employees Association, Maintenance Employees Association, Nutrition Service Workers Association, Office Professionals Association, Para-Educator Employees Association, Technicians, and Transportation Employees Association – as well as the proposedpay rates for substitute and miscellaneous employees. The Board will vote final approval June 26.

Tentative agreements include:

Administrators:  The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.76 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent. 

Custodial Employees Association: The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.96 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent.

Maintenance Employees Association: The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.96 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent.

Nutrition Services Workers Association:  The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 3.06 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent.  The service year stipend will increase by $.05, beginning at the 3-4 year level.  The two-year service stipend will be available for all nutrition services employees (currently for FSW I only).  The time used to take the training classes for Restricted Shift Manager (three hours) and Prep/Cook (two hours) will be covered by the district. 

Office Professionals Association: The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.88 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent.

Paraeducator Employees Association: The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.88 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent.

Technicians: The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.96 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent.

Transportation Employees Association: The salary increase for 2018-2019 is 2.67 percent with a total package increase of 2.68 percent. The service year stipend will increase by $.10.

Health insurance will not increase in 2018-2019.  Editorial changes (leave, years, pay, etc.) were made in the agreements/salary schedules/handbooks.  These settlements are within the parameters set by the Board of Education.

Included in the total package increases for each employee group are all district costs including the district’s contributions to health insurance, state retirement and Social Security.

A complete copy of the proposed agreement for each of the eight employee groups is available for review at the office of the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources upon request. 

In addition, the Board considered the proposed 2018-19 pay rates for substitutes and miscellaneous employees.  The recommended salary increases range from no increase to a 2.88 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.

Transportation plan

LPS officials Tuesday presented a proposed annual Transportation Plan for 2018-19 with these major changes:

  •        Increases in routes for Early Childhood routes: Belmont, Brownell, Campbell and Holmes elementary schools.
  •        Increases for students with special education needs: Eastridge Elementary School.
  •        Increases for students in Life Skills programs: Humann Elementary School and Lux Middle School.
  •        Increases for English Language Learning students: Maxey Elementary School, and Culler and Goodrich middle schools.
  •        New VOICE sites.

The proposed changes come at a cost of about $672,000 more in funding.  The Board will vote final approval on June 26.  

LPS follows general transportation guidelines, provisions of state law, providing transportation to:

  • Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from the school in the attendance area within which they reside.
  • Special Education students whose individual education plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning.
  • Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff. 

In addition, the Board, at its discretion, may approve other transportation areas based upon unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.

Cooperation between LPS and Educational Service Unit 18

The Board considered three-year extensions of two Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreements between LPS and Educational Service Unit 18, that would provide the school district with core services (including staff development, technology and instructional materials) and educational services (including instructional media services, technology and staff development).   

The term of the renewal period for the agreements will be September 1, 2018, through August 31, 2021. The Board will vote final approval June 26.

Proposed agreement with Community Learning Centers

The Board reviewed and considered the annual agreement with organizations that provide services to the Lincoln Community Learning Centers:Boys & Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County, Cedars Youth Services, Family Service Association, Lincoln Housing Authority, Lincoln Parks & Recreation, Malone Community Center, Nebraskans for Civic Reform, North Pointe Community Church, Northeast Family Center, Willard Community Center and YMCA of Lincoln #9418.  

The Board will vote final approval June 26.

Legislative guidelines

In order to communicate the positions of the Lincoln Board of Education, the Board annually approves Legislative Guidelines that provide guidance to school district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies when it is not possible to survey the Governmental Relations Subcommittee of the Board for specific guidance on legislation or policy. The Board will vote final approval on June 26.

The Board recognized Jennifer Bockerman, art instructor at Moore Middle School, for her honor as 2018 Nebraska Art Educator of the Year presented by the National Art Education Association.  

Published: June 12, 2018, Updated: June 12, 2018