Highlights of 2/23 Board of Education Regular Meeting
The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.
The Board recognized two staff members with formal resolutions for awards they recently received. The Nebraska Thespians Society honored LPS Curriculum Specialist for Secondary English and Language Arts Mindy Murphy with its 2020-21 Administrator’s Award. The same organization honored Lincoln Southwest High School Director of Theatre Bob Henrichs with its 2020-21 Nebraska High School Theatre Teacher of the Year Award.
2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update
The pandemic update given to the board included the following:
- As of Friday, Feb. 19, there were 7,046 students in grades kindergarten through 12 participating in remote learning at LPS. This represents 17.7% of the official K-12 enrollment. Enrollment in remote learning has dropped over 2,400 students since the end of first semester.
- LPS invited 9th grade students the option to return full-time in-person starting Feb. 22. As a result, 757 students have elected to return.
- As of Feb. 20, 785 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade registered for the 2021-2022 Remote Learning Program. The deadline for families to enroll was Friday, Feb. 19. Families wishing to sign up for the Remote Learning Program next school year will need to follow the traditional permit process.
- Out of the 455 high school students and staff tested during the week of Feb. 8, only two individuals (in two different schools) tested positive. That’s a positivity rate of 0.4% when testing for asymptomatic spread. This is a testament of our students and staff following protocols.
- After reviewing with the health department the latest information, LPS staff have decided to end the 3/2 schedule for high school students starting fourth quarter. Beginning March 15, all high school students will either be full time in-person or 100% remote. High school families who wish to switch to 100% remote learning for the fourth quarter will need to fill out the Remote Learning Request Form by Friday, March 5. The request form can be found here: http://lps.org/remoteform.
Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln
The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Wandering Creek Site, Annexation Ordinance #21023, for the 2020-21 school year and its assigned schools are Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School.
The Board will vote on the assigned schools at its next meeting.
Chromebooks for Kindergarten and Grade 1
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, older Chromebooks deployed in all district classrooms as loaners were assigned to each kindergarten and first grade student. As of Sept. 21, 2021, these devices will no longer be able to be supported by Google and LPS Computing Services.
New Chromebooks will need to be purchased to replace these units. In order to have Chromebooks in place for K-1 students prior to Sept. 1, 2021, an order must be placed before the end of March.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CARES) Act provides funding to meet the technology needs of remote learners in the coming school year and address learning loss related to the pandemic.
It was recommended that an award be made to purchase 6,144 Dell 2-in-1 Chromebooks, including Chrome Management and a 4-year warranty. This would be an expenditure of $2,082,816.00 of federal funding.
The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the purchase.
North Star High School Turf Improvements
Bids were requested from interested vendors for the installation of synthetic turf field improvements at North Star High School. Services will include site demolition, grading, installation of aggregate base course, installation of storm sewer piping, synthetic turf and other minor improvements.
There was only one bid submitted: Nemaha Landscape Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) for $845,890.00. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.
The Board waived second reading and voted to approve.
East High School Turf Improvements
Bids were requested from interested vendors for the installation of synthetic turf field improvements at East High School. Services will include site demolition, grading, installation of aggregate base course, installation of storm sewer piping, synthetic turf, and other minor improvements.
There were two bids submitted. It was recommended the project be awarded to the lowest bidder meeting specifications, which was Nemaha Landscape Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) for $1,028,890.00. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.
The Board waived second reading and voted to approve.
Scott/Lux Middle Schools Renovation Project
Sealed bids were received Feb. 11 from interested vendors to provide classrooms and gymnasium additions and renovations at Scott and Lux Middle Schools.
It was recommended that award be made to Perry Reid Construction, LLC (Lincoln, Nebraska) for $5,993,000.00. It was the lowest of five bids received.
This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.
The Board waived second reading and voted to approve.
Full-Service Community Schools Grant Application
The federal Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) program provides support for the planning, implementation and operation of full-service community schools that improve the coordination, integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for children and families, particularly for children attending high-poverty schools. Community school strategies hold considerable promise for creating good schools for all students, but especially for those living in poverty. This is of particular relevance in the face of achievement and opportunity gaps.
FSCS funding was last available in 2018. This is a new application and it requests $2,491,160 over five years. It will provide funding to partner with community-based organizations to continue deepening and broadening the FSCS work as prioritized in the 2015 Lincoln Community Learning Centers Strategic Plan. This application focuses on the pillars indicated as priorities in the request for proposals: integrated student supports; expanded learning time and opportunities; student support through mentoring; family and community engagement; and collaborative leadership and practice in all 29 Lincoln CLC sites.
These funds would allow for recruitment, retention and professional development for CLC staffing, which will lead toward staff stability and increased quality programming. It will also focus on planning and expanding CLCs to serve additional qualifying schools (qualifying schools must have a free/reduced lunch rate of over 40%). Evaluation of the project will demonstrate the impact on student, family and neighborhood well-being. It is projected that approximately 15,000 students and their families will be impacted by this project.
The following program goals will guide the program design and delivery:
Goal 1: Increase student achievement.
Goal 2: Increase family and community involvement in schools.
Goal 3: Recruitment, retention and professional development for CLC staff.
The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the grant application.
Proposed Negotiated Agreement with the Lincoln Education Association
The Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement with teachers for the 2021-22 school year. The tentative agreement was presented to the Board.
The tentative agreement represents a careful balance between recognizing the valuable contributions our teachers make for Lincoln Public Schools - especially as front-line workers during a pandemic - while also acknowledging the recent revenue decline including a significant drop in state aid.
The tentative agreement approved by a vote of LEA members provides a total compensation package increase of 1.53 percent for the 2021-22 school year. The tentative agreement includes the district’s contribution for increases with health insurance, retirement, Social Security and step movement (approximately $500 to $1,800) for certificated staff. The tentative agreement also includes a reduction in the 191-day teacher calendar by two professional development/teacher work days, and a reduction in the Extra Standard budget (for activities and athletics).
The Board conducted the first reading of the tentative agreement at Tuesday’s meeting and will take action at the Board meeting set for 6 p.m., March 23, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
Resolution regarding school health screenings
State law requires students in early childhood, kindergarten, grades 1-4, 7 and 10 be screened annually for vision, hearing, dental and height/weight.
This year school nurses have made efforts to screen all required students - including those who are attending remotely - but due to the pandemic not every student will receive their required screenings. School nurses have contacted families of remote learners, information on screening is available on the LPS website, and families of remote learners received a communication concerning required screenings and options for completion. LPS health staff are committed to conducting school health screenings next school year for those students who are not screened this year.
The Board voted to approve a resolution that acknowledges the challenges presented by the pandemic to health screening completion and waives the screening mandate for students who cannot be screened in the 2020-21 school year.
Student calendar for 2023-24
The Board on Tuesday approved the student calendar for 2023-24.
Each year a joint LPS/Lincoln Education Association committee, composed of parents, Board members, education association leaders, teachers and administrators, recommends a student calendar for the Board’s consideration. It has been the Board’s practice to adopt calendars more than a full calendar year before it is in place.
The calendar for 2023-24:
- First day of school Monday, Aug. 14, 2023
- Last day of school, Thursday, May 23, 2024
- Quarter break, Oct. 16-17, 2023
- Thanksgiving break, Nov. 22-24, 2023
- Winter break, Dec. 23, 2023 through Jan. 5, 2024
- Quarter break, March 11-15, 2024
- Spring break, March 29, 2024
- Arbor Day state holiday, April 26, 2024
Park Indoor Air Quality Construction Project
Bids were requested from interested vendors to provide Indoor Air Quality construction at Park Middle School. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.
Three bids were submitted, with the lowest being from Hausmann Construction of Lincoln for $16,914,000. The Board voted to approve the bid.
FAA Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers Grant Program
Airline industry projections for workforce needs in the future are alarming. Boeing, the leading manufacturer of airlines in the U.S., predicts a world demand of 754,000 new technicians by 2037. The global aviation maintenance technician workforce will need to add almost 38,000 new technicians annually in order to meet the projected demand.
As part of an effort to address this issue, Congress in 2018 passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, which called for the establishment of the Aviation Workforce Development Grant Program. The program’s goal is to provide grants to eligible projects to support the education and recruitment of aviation maintenance technical workers and the development of the aviation maintenance workforce.
To support the local workforce needs in this area, the LPS Curriculum Department is partnering with Duncan Aviation to develop and launch an LPS aviation focus program at Lincoln North Star High School. This program is focused on helping students identify the best aviation track for them and exposing them to a variety of potential aviation-related careers, with an emphasis on aviation maintenance. LPS began offering two courses in aviation during the 2019-20 school year at North Star and served 45 students. LPS then added two additional courses the following school year and served 60 students.
With interest growing, LPS will now apply for a $500,000 Aviation Maintenance Grant to help launch this new focus program, which will expand course offerings and provide students with hands-on learning experiences in the field of aviation maintenance. There is no match requirement for the grant.
The Board voted to approve the grant submission, which is due March 22.
Relief Funding Overview and Budget Calendar for the 2021-22 Budget
CARES Act - ESSER I
On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was signed into law allocating funding to schools. The purpose of the ESSER I is to provide direct money to school districts to support areas impacted by the disruption caused by COVID-19, which includes both:
- Continuing to provide educational services while schools are closed, such as remote learning; and
- Developing and implementing plans for the return to normal operations.
Allocations were calculated using the Title I formula and include funding for private schools. LPS has approximately $6.3 million in funds available under ESSER I. All of the LPS funding under ESSER I has been expended or is obligated to be spent.
CARES Act - ESSER II
On December 27, 2020, the CRRSA Act was signed into law allocating funding to schools. The purpose of the ESSER II focuses on:
- Safely reopening and continuing school operations;
- Measuring and effectively addressing significant learning loss; and
- Taking other actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the students and families who depend on our K-12 schools.
Allocations were calculated using the Title I formula. LPS has approximately $27.3 million in funds available under ESSER II. LPS currently has about $600,000 of ESSER II funds obligated for carryover needs from ESSER I. The same broad categories are available to spend ESSER funds. Added options include addressing learning loss among students and school facilities and air quality improvements related to the reduced risk of virus transmission.
Lincoln Public Schools is assessing needs and developing plans to address those needs. The following have been identified so far to address learning loss:
- Increased summer school offerings 2021 and 2022
- Professional learning opportunities for staff
- Summer curriculum work and plan time opportunities
- Mental Health Supports
- Extended Day Academic Support
- Special Education Support
- Support for Underrepresented Students Taking Rigorous Courses
- Curriculum Resources
- Graduation Pathways
- Behavior Support
- Professional Learning and Plan Time
- Title I Schools
- Attendance Support
- Early Childhood Parent Support
Other district needs include:
- Extended access to paid COVID-19 leave for staff
- Extended EAP support for staff
- Remote Learner Program
- Teacher Associates
- Data Collection
- Indirect Costs
- Indoor Air Quality
- PPE and Cleaning
Every year a proposed budget calendar is presented to the Board. This outlines the budget process and key dates. The calendar presented this year is similar to past years’. It includes:
- June 22: Budget Work Session
- June - July: Community and school district constituent presentations
- June 23: Presentation and Budget Forum at LPSDO
- July 27: Second Budget Work Session
- Aug. 23: Public Hearing and Budget Forum
- Aug. 24: First reading
- Sept. 14: Second reading and approval
Update from the Superintendent
Dr. Joel thanked custodial, operations and maintenance staff for their work during the recent winter weather we experienced. “They don’t get a day off when we get a snow day, and they work to make our buildings and grounds safe,” Joel said.
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 Culler Middle School staff and students, who decorated more than 40 of their doors to celebrate Black History Month.
LPS LIVE Board Update
On LPS LIVE Board Update, Board Member Don Mayhew sits down with Nola Derby-Bennett, director of the Lincoln Community Learning Centers, to discuss the valuable supports and services offered by CLCs, as well as the Full-Service Community Schools federal grant to be considered by the Board at Tuesday’s meeting.
Published: February 23, 2021, Updated: February 23, 2021