Highlights of 8/13 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 8/13 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, August 13, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, August 27. 

Proposed 2019-20 LPS budget

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday held a public hearing and first reading on the Lincoln Public Schools 2019-20 proposed budget, which provides no increase in the current property tax levy.

The proposed budget includes:

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

One person made remarks at the public hearing: Wanda Caffrey, chair of the School Liaison Committee for the Lincoln Independent Business Association.  For her full testimony go to: Livestream.com/lpsorg.

Budget highlights:

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 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. 

This budget would tentatively fund:

  • 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.

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

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 has a solid process for budget development with a continued focus on stability in programming – and opportunity for community feedback. The Board will take a final vote on the budget at the August 27 meeting.

Computer laptops for staff members

The Board heard a proposal – as part of the six-year lifecycle of the LPS technology plan – to purchase 3,900 laptop computers for certificated staff members at a total cost of $3.6 million.  As part of the technology plan, staff members use these computers for three years after which they are used an additional three years in elementary and middle schools. 

The LPS recommendation calls for awarding Apple Inc. the purchase of 3,900 Macbook Air computers. Intel-based Apple computers support both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems, allowing the school district to maintain a single hardware platform while also providing teachers the opportunity to select the platform that best meets their productivity and instructional needs.   

The Board will take a final vote at the August 27 meeting.

Insurance renewal rates

The Board heard the proposed insurance renewal rates for the coming school year – with a premium increase of $243,719 over last year.

Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources, explained that these increases are happening across the Midwest due to recent storms, flooding and damages related to inclement weather.

For 24 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: lower premiums, school district holds funds until needed to pay claims, school district legal counsel is involved in all lawsuits, all claim settlements are approved by the school district, and 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 savings to the school district of more than $1 million dollars per year in premium costs alone.

The Board will take a final vote at the August 27 meeting.

Superintendent evaluation policies and procedures

The Board reviewed, updated and made some proposed changes in policies, procedures and timeline for the annual superintendent evaluation. The Board’s evaluation appraisal instrument for the superintendent is periodically reviewed and modified to current practice. 

The Board will take a final vote at the August 27 meeting.

Board of Ed’s new Equity Committee

Board President Lanny Boswell announced the formation of a new Board Equity Committee to address one of the Board’s major goals for the coming school year.  The Committee will specifically work to develop a definition of equity as well as create a framework of process.  The committee will include: Annie Mumgaard, chair; and Kathy Danek and Connie Duncan.

Staff celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized the TeamMates Mentoring Program of Lincoln for the 2019 Pillar of Achievement Award, bestowed by the TeamMates Mentoring Program.

To view the entire Board meeting

Go to this link: Livestream.com/lpsorg 

Published: August 13, 2019, Updated: August 13, 2019