News

Highlights of 8/14 Lincoln Board of Education Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, August 14, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, August 28.

Public hearing, consideration of proposed 2018-19 budget

The Lincoln Board of Education held a public hearing Tuesday and heard first reading of the proposed budget for 2018-19, which includes an overall one and one-half cent reduction in the property tax levy.

The proposed 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).

Board members offered comments:

  • Lanny Boswell: “The LPS 2018-19 budget prioritizes teaching and learning, addresses the needs of a growing school district, including enhanced security…This budget addresses these needs while lowering the budget levy…the lowest rate in over 50 years.”
  • Matt Schulte: “The great thing about this budget is that we’re getting everything we want…hiring teachers we need…adding more security for our schools…..providing tax relief…I am very excited about this budget.” 
  • Board President Connie Duncan noted that the proposed budget covers the needs of the growing district, while wisely choosing the highest needs. “We started with a very large list of wants and narrowed the list to those we really need…And the right thing to do this year is to lower the levy for this budget.” 

The Board will vote final approval of the budget on August 28.

Questions:

http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

lstandis@lps.org  

Additional budget info: 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 few months, the Board has reviewed about $31.7 million in increased needs and prioritized them, funding a proposed $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 proposed 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. 

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

Standard Response Protocol

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday heard highlights of the next level of safety and security at LPS this school year, expanding the school district’s capacity in communication, training and preparedness.

Board member Don Mayhew said: “I think our response has been very appropriate, and very much has us headed in the right direction.”

LPS continues to recognize safety as a top priority for students, moving to the next level of safety and security planning at LPS:

  • Developing additional training materials and resources for safety in our schools.
  • Providing consistent family updates on emergency drills.
  • Adding additional resources for mental health.
  • Looking to welcome six new School Resource Officers who will serve our middle schools beginning in January.
  • Partnering with a new threat assessment officer at the Lincoln Police Department, who will work closely with our LPS security officials (also trained in threat assessment).
  • Adding a new security coordinator at LPS

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, explained that a school-based group of LPS educators came together this summer to plan and develop additional training materials and resources for safety in our schools.

As recommended by the Nebraska Department of Education, LPS has been using the Standard Response Protocol since 2014, which is a series of actions designed to prepare for critical incidents and emergency situations.  This school year LPS has built on past practices to provide greater detail and clarity, Standish said, ensuring that common language, procedures and expectations are shared with students, families and educators.

Standard Response Protocol is based on five actions that schools take during a critical incident: Lockout, Lockdown, Evacuation, Shelter and Hold. This school year we are working to enhance the training and practice we provide to all LPS staff and students about each of these five security measures. In addition, we will provide families with information about these drills and how families might talk to their students about the exercises.  Each year, at a minimum, our schools will practice: ten evacuation drills, two lockdown drills, two lockout drills, and two shelter drills.

For more information about security resources, go to: https://docushare.lps.org/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-378521

Purchase approved near Huntington Elementary

The Board Tuesday approved purchase of real estate located at 48th and Adams near the northeast corner of the Huntington Elementary School site: Providing the benefit of enhancing the otherwise land-locked Huntington site.

Insurance rates
The Board of Education reviewed proposed insurance rates for 2018-19.

Background: For 23 years, Risk Management has arranged for the school district’s insurance coverage through an Owner Controlled Self-Insurance program.  The advantages of self-insurance are:  1) lower premiums, 2) district holds funds [in the Insurance Fund] until needed to pay claims, 3) district legal counsel is involved in all lawsuits, 4) all claim settlements are approved by the district, 5) LPS staff and legal counsel are involved in claims from the beginning.

The LPS insurance broker, UNICO, provides Risk Management with a report comparing the estimated premium costs for standard insurance coverage to the actual Owner Controlled Protected Self-Insurance program costs and estimates a savings to the district of more than one million dollars per year in premium costs alone. 

The Board will vote final approval August 28. 

Public comment 
One person spoke at the public hearing on the budget, and three people spoke in the public comment segment of the meeting. To see comments, please go to the tape of the meeting: Livestream.com/lpsorg 

To view the entire Board meeting…
Go to: Livestream.com/lpsorg


Published: August 14, 2018, Updated: August 14, 2018