Highlights of 6/13 Community Budget Forum

Highlights of 6/13 Community Budget Forum

Lincoln Public Schools officials Thursday presented the preliminary budget for 2019-20 at a Community Budget Forum, and asked for community comments.   

The preliminary budget proposal provides no increase in the current property tax levy and includes:

  • Funding for continued student growth.
  • Funding that addresses complexity of student needs to promote student success.

One member of the public offered remarks, asking that Board members consider funding free bus passes to students in need. 

HIGHLIGHTS of LPS preliminary 2019-20 budget:

The preliminary budget totals about $458.7 million, an expenditure budget increase of 3.3 percent.  In the past month, the Board has reviewed about $18.6 million in increased needs and prioritized them, leaving almost $4 million in needs – unfunded.  Tentatively funded are:

  • Support to schools to keep up with continued, incremental growth, adding teachers/staff for regular education, special education and early childhood.
  • Supports that allow students the foundation to learn, adding school counselors, social workers and health care workers.
  • Expansion with more teachers at behavioral skills schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

LPS has seen continued growth in enrollment over the past decade: Historic highs with 42,035 students – increase of 3,000 students in five years, more than 8,000 students since 2008-09 – five LPS high schools with enrollments topping 2,000.  

LPS has a solid process for budget development with a continued focus on stability in programming – and opportunity for community feedback. One additional Community Budget Presentation/Forum is scheduled: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 27, Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St. 

LPS prudently plans for the long-term, as 2019-20 state aid for education is decreasing $13.7 million – compared to last year. Revenue increases related to property valuations and the use of cash reserve will be necessary to fund the 2019-20 budget.  LPS saved money in cash reserve in previous budgets to provide stability in a climate of dramatically changing revenues.

LPS is one of the lowest spending school districts in the state for per-pupil costs and has been for decades – ranking 224 out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending, more than $1,000 lower than state average. 

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

Budget work session materials located at: http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

Published: June 13, 2019, Updated: June 13, 2019