News

Highlights of 12/11 Lincoln Board of Education Work Session, Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session and a regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The work session focused on the preliminary updated 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan for 2018.

Work Session: Preliminary 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan 

The Lincoln Board of Education started to set the stage for a potential future Lincoln Public Schools 2020 bond issue with the Tuesday presentation of preliminary facility priorities that could include new elementary school space in every quadrant of the city, a new middle school in south Lincoln, some sort of high school solution, a new athletics/activities complex, as well as renovations and infrastructure updates to current schools throughout the community.

The 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure plan is updated consistently by LPS officials and the Board, identifying priority projects for the school district – and the latest preliminary update was presented at a Board work session Tuesday afternoon. The preliminary Facilities Plan will now go to the newly formed Superintendent’s Facilities Advisory Committee, which convenes in January to study and analyze facility needs for LPS.  At the end of their work – late summer or early fall 2019 – they will submit recommended top facility needs for final consideration by the superintendent and Board of Education. LPS Superintendent Steve Joel announced Tuesday the three community members who will lead the new Advisory Committee: Jennifer Brinkman, Lancaster County Commissioner; Nick Cusick, president of Bison, Inc.; and Maribel Cruz, senior leadership consultant for Talent Plus.

“The majority of this plan is dedicated to growth in the school district,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations at LPS, who walked the Board through the proposal.  “We are looking at easing overcrowding that we are experiencing at all grade levels – in all areas of the community.”

Overall factors that drive the Facilities and Infrastructure Plan:

  • Student growth
  • Program deficiencies
  • Changing curriculum delivery/technology
  • Safety and security
  • Sustainability practices
  • Protecting our investment

The 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan is organized into three tiers, with Tier 1 signifying what staff believe are the highest priority projects – a tier that includes more than $387 million in identified needs.  All three tiers add up to a total of $640 million in LPS facility needs.

“I want to stress, we will never come close to covering all our needs in the next bond issue,” Wieskamp stated. “As always, we will have to choose only the very highest needs we have.”

Summary of projects listed in Tier 1 (highest priority) – with estimated price tags  

Current schools:   Significant renovation and updates at Everett Elementary School and Park Middle School, particularly related to Indoor Air Quality improvements and installation of geothermal energy systems (about $48 million).

Elementary level (depending on size of elementary school, price is $23-28 million per school):

  • Southeast Lincoln: Either construction of a new school (south of Rokeby Road between 70th and 84th streets), or additions at Kloefkorn and Wysong elementary schools (additions would cost a total of $14.5 million).
  • South Lincoln: Construction of a new school (between 27th and 40th streets, and Yankee Hill and Rokeby Road).
  • Northeast Lincoln: Construction of a new school (around 102nd and Holdrege).
  • Northwest Lincoln: Construction of a new school (site to be determined) with consideration of possible alternative grade configuration facility.  

Middle: South Lincoln: Construction of a new middle school (near South 40th Street between Rokeby Road and Saltillo Road, $50.5 million).

High school:  Added high school space in Lincoln: Construction of one new comprehensive high school (for 2,000 students, site to be determined, more than $103 million) – or two partially built but comprehensive high schools that would open small but could be expanded to full-size comprehensive high schools (open with 900-1,000 students, sites to be determined, a total of more than $134 million).

New high school athletic/activities complex potentially located at a new high school site (seating 5,000 to 6,000 spectators, larger than Beechner Athletic Complex at Lincoln High School, smaller than Seacrest Athletic Complex at Lincoln East High School, $17 million).

Middle and high schools: Update specialized curricular classrooms and spaces that are dated at older middle and high schools.

Land purchases for future use ($4 million)

Infrastructure ($53 million): Renovations and infrastructure updates to maintain current schools: Potential new roofing, more efficient lighting, bleachers, restrooms, parking lot paving, playground equipment and surfacing, and more

Regular Board Meeting

Two-year salary package proposed for LPS educators, 2019-2021
The Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools have reached a tentative agreement with teachers for a two-year contract covering the 2019-20 and 2020-2021 school years in a proposal presented to the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday.

This proposal represents a well-rounded salary package: Honoring the essential and respected role our teachers have in a school district of excellence, as well as recognizing we must continue to serve as competent stewards of taxpayer funds, according to Steve Joel, superintendent of LPS; Rita Bennett, president of the LEA; and Connie Duncan, president of the Lincoln Board of Education.

The proposed agreement covers about 3,650 LPS employees who are teachers, librarians, nurses, social workers, counselors, school psychologists, speech language pathologists and early childhood and home-based teachers.

  • The 2019-2020 tentative agreement – voted on and overwhelmingly approved by LEA membership – provides a total compensation package increase of 3.04 percent for the 2019-20 school year, which includes salary increases of 2.35 percent, increases in Extra Standard, Social Security and retirement costs, and a 4.99 percent increase in health insurance premiums. Each full-time employee would receive a $1,300 salary increase. The base salary for a new teacher would increase by $800 to $45,956. (Extra standard is a stipend for a duty in addition to normal day assignments, such as serving as a team leader, coach, workshop leader, etc.)
  • The 2020-2021 tentative agreement – voted on and approved by LEA membership – provides a total compensation package increase of 2.69 percent for the 2020-21 school year, which includes salary increases of 2.30 percent, increases in Extra Standard, Social Security and retirement costs and a 4.99 percent increase in health insurance premiums. Each full-time employee would receive a $1,300 salary increase. The base salary for a new teacher would increase by $800 to $46,756.

The Lincoln Board of Education conducted the first reading of the contract at the Dec. 11 meeting and will take final action on the tentative agreement at the Board meeting set for 6 p.m. Jan. 8, 2019 at LPS District Offices, 5905 O St.

Comments:

Joel: “Our educators are at the heart of public education. We place a great deal of respect and high regard for the high-quality teaching we experience in our school district with professionals whose time and talent inspire students, each and every day. At the same time our school district must be judicious, always attentive to our taxpayers. We believe this salary package is sensitive to the needs of all our stakeholders.”

Bennett: “This two-year agreement demonstrates support for teachers and other certificated professionals whose work is an essential ingredient in the recipe for student success. We are fortunate that our school district and our community continue to value and validate the work of our educators who create an environment for excellence in Lincoln Public Schools.”  

Duncan: “We are working to strengthen one of our community’s greatest assets, public education, by investing in the outstanding professionals who work in our classrooms every single day and ensure an equal chance for success to all students. At the same time, we are prioritizing the school district’s needs to align with our community expectations, while staying fiscally accountable and responsible.”     

** BACKGROUND: The previous one-year agreement provided a total package increase of 2.68 percent for the 2018-19 school year. That included an average salary increase of 3.07 percent for the contract.  Lincoln Public Schools is one of the lowest spending school districts in the state for per-pupil costs and has been for decades. (LPS spends less per pupil in the state than 226 school districts – out of 245 districts total – nearly $1,000 less per pupil than the state average.)

New land annexed, attendance areas proposed
The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the city of Lincoln. The city has annexed two parcels of land, and proposed assigned attendance areas are:

  • 93rd and O streets, Annexation Ordinance #20586, for 2018-19 school year: Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School, Lincoln East High School.
  • Hillcrest Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20718, for 2018-19 school year: Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School, Lincoln East High School.

The Board will take a final vote Jan. 8.

21st Century Community Learning Center grant applications
The Board Tuesday considered an application for 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. These two 21st Century CLC grant applications are continuation funding grants for 11 sites: Holmes and Pershing elementary schools and Lefler Middle School, as well as Clinton, Hartley, Elliott, Huntington, Riley, Saratoga and West Lincoln elementary schools, and Goodrich Middle School. Another grant would bring necessary resources and support to establish new CLCs at Randolph Elementary School, and Lincoln High and Northeast high schools.

The following program goals would guide the program design and delivery:

Goal 1: Improve student learning performance in one or more core academic areas;
Goal 2: Increase social benefits and improve behavior; and
Goal 3: Increase family and community involvement in schools.

Core program activities would include homework/academic support, enrichment activities, recreation and leisure, character education and development, and service learning, as well as activities to support nutrition and healthy lifestyles. It is projected that approximately 2,700 students will be impacted by the CLC programs at these 11 sites.

The Board will take a final vote Jan. 8.

Student Celebration
The Board Tuesday recognized Rousseau Elementary School as a 2018 Blue Ribbon School, named recently by the U.S. Department of Education.

Public Comment
One Lincoln citizen gave public comments Tuesday evening. To view the meeting go to: Livestream.com/lpsorg

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

 


Published: December 11, 2018, Updated: December 11, 2018