Highlights of 11/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting

Highlights of 11/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Presentations

United Way 

Lincoln Public Schools employees continue to be a strong supporter of community organizations that make a positive impact on the lives of Lincoln residents in need. This year LPS raised $137,191.35 for the United Way. This is a 6.2% increase from last year. The campaign’s theme, "Now More Than Ever," was reflected in the staff efforts and contributions to support our students and families.

“I want to thank all LPS staff who contributed financially, the administrators who led the efforts in their buildings and departments, and the office staff who helped organize the drive in their locations,” said LPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson. “LPS appreciates the United Way of Lincoln and their respective organizations that support the students and families in our community. We are fortunate to live in a community that works together to support others.”

Top five elementary school contributors

  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Kooser
  • Elliott
  • Huntington

Top two middle contributors

  • Lefler 
  • Pound

Top two high school contributors

  • North Star 
  • East

Schools and departments with 65% or greater staff participation


  • Don Sherrill 88%
  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Fredstrom

Middle School

  • Dawes 72%

LPSDO Departments

  • Payroll 100%
  • Superintendent’s Office 100%
  • Superintendent’s Office-Custodial 100%
  • Government Relations 100%
  • Teammates 100%
  • Business Affairs Division
  • Communications
  • Federal Programs
  • HR Risk Management
  • Instructional Directors
  • Library Media
  • Student Services

United Way Executive Director Meagan Liesveld commended the staff for their continued support. “I want you to know how much we admire the work of your staff, your administrators and your teachers as you endeavor to meet the educational needs of our community’s young people. And you did not need one more thing on your plate, but you did it anyway. The staff, administration and teachers gave, and you gave generously.”

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van DeLaCastro offered an update on the foundation’s work during the past year, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic. A few highlights:

  • Overall the foundation has raised roughly $1.5 million over the last year to support children all across the city.
  • During the early months of the pandemic, the foundation helped 800 families through its COVID Relief Fund.
  • At the school level, that fund was able to, among other things, provide for an additional three hours of mental health services for each building and 3,000 musical instrument covers so students could safely play.
  • Most recently, the foundation launched the Thank a Teacher webpage. So far, 232 virtual thank you notes have been collected.

Van DeLaCastro also took the opportunity to look toward the future.

“I’m really excited for the coming six months ahead. We’ll be partnering closely with LPS on issues of equity and diversity. We’ll be working on workplace learning partnerships and then be raising funds for the two beautiful athletic complexes that will be a part of our new high schools,” she said.

Annual Financial Audit

Tonight the results of the 2019-2020 school year audit for LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 were presented to the Board. The school district went live with a new business and human resources system in August 2019, which presented a number of challenges but also allowed opportunities to increase transparency. 

Representatives from BerganKDV told the Board that no mistakes were reported by its audit team. 

“During an unusual year of switching systems and during a pandemic, this was quite exceptional,” said BerganKDV’s Gene Garrelts. “You clearly performed above and beyond.”

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Board President Kathy Danek spoke to what she has seen in the many schools she has visited over the past few months and noted she plans to have visited every LPS school by the end of the first semester. She offered gratitude for all of the work being done by teachers, staff and administrators.

“I just want to acknowledge what I have seen on these visits. This is an incredibly challenging time in our schools and our city and our state. Yet our incredible professionals continue to exemplify great teaching and working with our students each and every day,” Danek said.  

Superintendent Steve Joel spoke about the decision to take an additional two days off from school this week, which he hopes is an opportunity for staff and students to relax and recalibrate before finishing the semester. He also went on to express his ongoing appreciation for the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and its continued support for offering in-person school. 

First Reading

Newly Annexed Property to the City of Lincoln

The Board of Education held a first reading on assigning 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. The Board will assign Wilderness Hills South to Adams Elementary School, Moore Middle School and Southwest High School.

A second reading and vote will take place at the Dec. 8 meeting.

Construction Projects

The Board held first reading for bids on two construction projects that are being paid for with funds from the 2020 Bond Fund, approved by voters in February.

  • West Holdrege Street Infrastructure Project - K-2 Real Estate & Development (Lincoln, Neb.) - $3,764,940.10
  • New Southeast High School Plumbing Package - HEP, Inc. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $4,509,950.00

The Board will vote on these projects at its Dec. 8 meeting. 

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the following bid for another Bond Fund project:             

  • Wysong Elementary School Additions - Rogge General Contractors (Lincoln, Neb.) - $3,898,000.00

All three bids were the lowest submitted. There was only one bid submitted for the New Southeast High School Plumbing Package.

Second Reading

School choice filing deadline for East, Lincoln High and North Star 

Lincoln Public Schools eighth-graders will continue to have their choice of attending any of the LPS high schools as they enter ninth grade.

In 2020-21, enrollment continues to exceed building capacity at East High and Lincoln High with more than 2,300 each and nearly 2,300 at North Star.

For the second year, LPS staff recommends that high school selection applications for 2021-22 for incoming ninth-graders living outside of East High, Lincoln High and North Star attendance areas continue to be approved through the current process, with a filing deadline of Jan. 31, 2021. All forms submitted after that date will be denied. In addition, these three schools will be unavailable for transfers at all grade levels for students living outside the school attendance areas.

The Board voted to approve the filing deadline.

Construction bids for new high schools

The Board voted to approve bids for a number of projects at the new high schools being built in northwest and southeast Lincoln. All of the projects are being paid for with funds from the 2020 Bond Fund.

  • New NW High School Segmented Block Retaining Walls Package - Linhart Construction, Inc. (Omaha, Neb.) - $100,556.00
  • New NW High School Geo-Foam/Pressure Reducing Wall Systems Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $270,500.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Fireproofing Package - True Fireproofing Company (Tulsa, Okla.) - $631,200.00
  • New NW High School Sidewalks Package - Concrete Works (Milford, Neb.) - $429,730.00
  • New NW High School Paving Sealants Package - Stutzman Sealants & Sons LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $78,750.00
  • New NW High School Fencing Package - Outback Fence Co. LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $7,956.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Lockers Package - List Industries, Inc. (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) - $206,500.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Joint Sealants Package - Stutzman Sealants & Sons LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $304,320.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Millwork & Casework Package - Designer Woods, Inc. (Omaha, Neb.) - $717,681.00
  • New NW High School Traffic Signage & Curb Stops Package - Bestco Services (Waverly, Neb.) - $30,720.00

All of the approved bids were the lowest submitted. There was only one bid submitted for the New NW High School Paving Sealants Package and the New NW High School Fencing Package.

Decrease in Guaranteed Maximum Price for new high schools

In June 2019 the Board awarded Hausmann Construction, Inc., the contract to provide services as the Construction Manager Constructor (CMC) for the two new high schools being built in northwest and southeast Lincoln. As part of that, Haussman was required to submit a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for each of the projects.

At the last meeting, the Board asked Scott Weiskamp, director of Operations to reevaluate a  proposal and bring it back for consideration.

“We appreciate the opportunity to come back after we had a very healthy discussion two weeks ago,” said Weiskamp. “This is a huge project for our community and for Lincoln Public Schools. We really did appreciate that conversation because we took a step back, take a look at the broader picture, look at the whole project and see how we could get the project below budget.”

The new GMP proposed was: $61,739,748.00 for the northwest high school project and $62,049,503.00 for the southeast high school.

The Board voted to approve the newly proposed GMP.

Committee Reports

Safe and Successful Kids Committee Report

Before the Board voted on whether to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Lincoln on School Resource Officers, Assistant Superintendent John Neal and Director of Security Joe Wright gave the Board a summary of a presentation given to the SSK Committee at its last meeting. The full presentation given to the SSK Committee can be found here

The purpose of the MOU is to fulfill the requirements of LB 390, approved by the Nebraska Legislature in 2019. LB 390 requires the creation of a comprehensive and clear MOU between law enforcement and school officials that will delineate the roles and responsibilities of school resource officers and school administrators. The ultimate goal is to balance the interests of safety for students and school staff in relation to parental rights, student success and family integrity, with the goal that an increased law enforcement presence at schools will not result in a disparate impact on students.

The Board voted 5-2 to approve the MOU on School Resource Officers with the City of Lincoln.

Public Comment

No members of the public attended the meeting to address the Board during Public Comment. 

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the generous giving of LPS schools as part of this year’s United Way campaign and its impact on students and families.

Published: November 24, 2020, Updated: November 25, 2020