Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 12/10 Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The entire Board meeting can be viewed here.

First reading

Annexed Property
The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. Tonight the Board held a first reading to assign attendance areas to newly annexed Stone Bridge Creek Commercial addition near Kooser Elementary. The assigned attendance area will be Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star High School. The Board will vote to approve the assignment at the Jan. 14 regular meeting.

Second reading

Bond resolution 
The Board held a second reading and vote on a resolution proposing a bond issue of $290 million to be decided by voters during a special election on Feb. 11, 2020. Based on analysis and finance models, this amount is expected to stay within the current bond and building fund levy. 

Board President Lanny Boswell opened the discussion: “Our meeting tonight is a significant milestone for the Board, the school district and our community. It marks the transition from crafting a proposal to informing our community. These projects were selected by the Board of Education from a list of needs identified by the Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee - a group of over 100 community members. As Board members we are often the decision-makers with our community coming to us with the information that we need to make sound decisions. Now the roles are reversed and it is our job as a school district to inform the community about this proposal so the voters can make an informed decision in February.”

Board Finance Committee Chair Kathy Danek added, “I believe that this bond resolution checks off a lot of the needs in our school district. We are touching every zip code in the city and we are keeping it a levy that is static. I think that that's the most important part of this, as it shows the long-term planning abilities of a school district that believes we are responsible to our taxpayers.”

The Board voted to approve the resolution. 

Updating 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan 
The Board held a second reading on an updated 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan. The updated plan includes:

  • Two new high schools - one at South 70th & Saltillo Road, one at NW 48th and Holdrege streets.
  • Six current high schools and focus programs: facility enhancements and renovations, including an investment in athletic and activity facilities.
  • Park Middle School: Upgrading windows, finishing, lighting, heating and cooling systems.
  • Scott Middle School: Additional classrooms and physical education space.
  • Dawes, Lefler, Lux, Mickle and Schoo middle schools: Addition of physical education and multi-purpose spaces.
  • All middle schools: enhancements and renovations of specialized learning spaces.
  • Everett Elementary School: Upgrading windows, finishing, lighting, heating and cooling systems.
  • A new elementary school at approximately 102nd and Holdrege streets.
  • Wysong Elementary School: Addition of classroom space.
  • Arnold Elementary School: Additional space to serve pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.
  • Along with infrastructure needs for all schools to include: Playground equipment and surfacing, roof recapping and replacements, interior lighting upgrades, traffic flow improvements, bleachers, parking lot paving and future site acquisition and development.

Board Planning Committee Chair Don Mayhew said, “Going back to 2003 when we did this comprehensive look at every single building that we have and all of our needs, we have maintained incredible data. That data has allowed us to bring good information to our community committees. It has allowed us to have a very collaborative and information-driven process, which has been a benefit to us, and I think it is a benefit to the community and to taxpayers. I think this is a very strong proposal that we are taking to the community to ask for their support.”

The Board voted to approve the resolution.

Land purchases 
There were two land purchase agreements up for second reading and approval at Tuesday’s meeting. The two properties — one in northwest Lincoln and the other in southeast Lincoln — would be large enough for the construction of new high schools, along with athletic complexes as identified by the proposed updated 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan. The properties are located at South 70th & Saltillo Road and at NW 48th and Holdrege streets. The Board voted to approve the purchase.

Bus purchase 
The Board held a second reading and voted to approve purchasing five wheelchair school buses with three-point safety belts for use by the Transportation Department. The buses will be replacements to the fleet.

Special reports

Independence Academy, formally known as VOICE 
Tonight the Board heard a special presentation from the Special Education Department’s program Independence Academy. Previously called the VOICE program, the Independence Academy is a transition program for students with disabilities that provides students ages 18 to 21 years of age with relevant educational, life, social, vocational and career experiences in a business and/or agency setting. Tonya Jolley, Independence Academy coordinator, gave a brief overview of the program and introduced current student Dalante Artis and his grandfather, Garrie Gordon, who spoke to the work Dalante does in the program.

2020 U.S. Census Report
John Neal, Assistant Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration, reported to the Board that Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau and other community groups to help inform families about the upcoming 2020 Census. Part of the special report included:

  • Walter Powell, LPS Administrator for Diversity and Multicultural Education, and his work with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Complete Census Count Committee.
  • Marta Boucher, Partnership Specialist for the US Census Bureau, on how the federal count impacts communities.
  • Linda Hix, LPS Federal Programs Director, on how LPS is working with the Census Bureau to inform staff about the process.
  • Jaci Kelllison, LPS K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, on curriculum connections.
  • Mindy Burbach, LPS Communications Director, on how LPS is partnering with the community group and the U.S. Census Bureau to communicate the facts to families.

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools
Wendy Van, President of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, gave an annual update to the Board. This upcoming year the Foundation is focusing on four themes: alignment, impact, sustainability and action. There is a new operating agreement between LPS and the Foundation that allows the two entities to more closely align their projects. One way the Foundation is making an impact is by piloting a three-year funding for the LPS Graduation Pathways project. This project is a unique route to graduation for students who have dropped out of high school or may be at risk of dropping out, as it allows them to obtain needed courses and work toward their high school diploma. Also, the Spark summer enrichment program is one part of the sustainability focus for the Foundation. In action, the Foundation every year honors outstanding educators and staff members through monetary awards and presentations.

Public Comment

There was one member of the public who addressed the Board during Public Comment at the beginning of the meeting on the topic of the Bond resolution. 

There was one member of the public who addressed the Board during Public Comment at the end of the meeting on the topic of the property purchase for the high school site located near Saltillo Road. 

Click here to watch the full meeting with public comment.

Glimpses of LPS

Independence Academy 
We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our classrooms. Tonight’s video gave us a peek into an Independence Academy student and his work. 

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Bond Resolution and the Updated 10-Year Facility and Infrastructure Plan
Before every Board of Education meeting, Don Mayhew previews topics of interest with special guests. In Tuesday’s episode, Don Mayhew sat down with Lanny Boswell, Board President, and Kathy Danek, Board member and Chair of the Finance Committee, to talk about the next steps in bond resolution process.

Published: December 10, 2019, Updated: December 10, 2019