Highlights of 4/27 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 27, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

You can watch the full meeting here.

Below is the meeting after the closed session


Special Reports, presentations and Celebrations

Extra Mile Walk Recognition and Community Service Resolution

The Board honored retiring Food Bank of Lincoln Executive Director Scott Young with a formal resolution for his nearly 20 years of leading the organization. Under Young’s leadership, the Food Bank of Lincoln has seen a growth of 12 times the number of meals distributed. At the end of the most current fiscal year, the Food Bank connected neighbors in southeast Nebraska to more than 11.5 million meals. The organization has grown its programs substantially, including adding the BackPack Program for Lincoln Public Schools, expanding its Child Hunger Programs to further support rural communities, and adding the LPS Emergency Pantry partnership and School Food Markets and Pantries.

Young also gave an update on fundraising efforts for this year’s Extra Mile Walk, which is being held virtually April 26-30. The fundraising goal is $100,000 and more than $57,000 has been raised so far. Please visit the website for more information about the Project Extra Mile Walk. 

Staff Celebration - Liz Standish

The Board recognized Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish with a formal resolution. Standish was recently honored by the Nebraska Association of School Business Officials with its Outstanding Business Official of the Year Award. 

Board member Don Mayhew presented the resolution to Standish and added this: “Her expertise and her fact-based delivery have caused many in the business community to describe her as a breath of fresh air. When discussing education funding - and as one of the very few people in the state who understands the state aid formula - Dr. Standish has become a valued resource for many in the Legislature. And she is always aware that our North Star, the guiding principle for everything we do, is to do what's best for children.”

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van DeLaCastro gave an update on some of the foundation’s recent work. The foundation has given out 19 of its annual Educator Awards, as well as more than 60 Inspire Awards that honor students and staff. Clinton Elementary School was the winner of this year’s prestigious Inspire School of the Year Award. Van DeLaCastro also spoke about new scholarships offered through the foundation, including a $530,000 gift from retired LPS elementary school teacher Pat Campbell, who passed away in January 2020. Her gift will go toward the renovation of one of the sites of the LPS Independence Academy, whose mission is to prepare students with disabilities, primarily ages 18 to 21, to gain the skills and connections they need to facilitate a positive transition into adult living.

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Joel gave an update on the vaccination clinics being held at all six high schools this week, noting that so far more than 500 people have been vaccinated. Joel also noted that LPS continues to work with Pinnacle Bank Arena on plans for graduation ceremonies.

First Reading

Naming New Elementary School

A committee of eight community members (Lynn Ayers, Tony Merritt, Todd Ogden, Marco Pedroza, Kim Robak, Ishma Valenti, Mailani Veney and Colette Yellow Robe) and three Board members (Connie Duncan, Kathy Danek and Bob Rauner) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new elementary school to be built in northeast Lincoln, east of 102nd Street and south of Holdrege Street. More than 180 names were suggested by more than 500 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions and make a recommendation to the Board.
The committee unanimously recommended that the next LPS elementary school be named for Ada Robinson, a long-time LPS educator and fixture at Clinton Elementary School. She worked with many families for multiple generations at Clinton. Families built trust for the school because of their relationships with her. She was a long-time supporter of the work and mission of the Malone Center and a leader in the area of equity work. She also has served in leadership roles throughout the community.
Former student Robert Edins read his nomination letter to the committee. In part it stated: “She saw through the ratty clothes, the uncombed hair, the worn-out shoes. She treated me as I belonged. We expect a great education at LPS but these educators do so much more than teach reading and writing. This is what Ada Robinson did that year - she taught me, right where I was, without judgment.” 
Robinson was in attendance with her family. She told the Board: “First of all I want to say thank you. My number one thing in life was teaching young children.”

The Board will vote on the recommendation at its next meeting.

Evaluation and Proposed Compensation for the Superintendent of Schools

The Lincoln Board of Education annually evaluates and reviews the contract of its superintendent. On Tuesday the Board recommended that Superintendent Steve Joel’s contract be extended for three years with a proposed compensation increase.

The recommended salary for the superintendent for the 2021-22 year would be $334,515. That amount represents a salary increase of 1.51 percent and a total salary package increase of 1.58 percent.

The Board will take a final vote and the superintendent’s full evaluation will be presented at the May 11 Board meeting.

Proposed Contracts, Salaries for Superintendent’s Exec Team 

The Board of Education also annually reviews the contracts of the superintendent’s executive team. This year it is recommended that the proposed three-year contract for each of the associate superintendents be amended and extended to June 30, 2024. It also is recommended that a total salary increase of 1.51 percent and overall total package increase of 1.60 percent be approved for this group for 2021-22. 

It also is recommended that the proposed one-year contract for the director of continuous improvement and professional learning and ESU 18 administrator be amended and extended for the 2021-22 school year, with a salary increase of 1.51 percent and overall total package increase of 1.60 percent for 2021-22. 

Included in the total package increase for each of the four associate superintendents and the ESU 18 administrator are additional district costs, including the district’s contributions to health insurance, state retirement and Social Security.

Annual salary proposals:

  • Matt Larson, associate superintendent for instruction: $212,400
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for business affairs: $222,570
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for human resources: $222,570
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for general administration and governmental relations: $218,170
  • Sarah Salem, director of continuous improvement and professional learning and ESU 18 administrator: $145,216

The Board will take a final vote at its next meeting.

Public Comment

Two citizens addressed the Board during the Public Comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full board meeting video here.

Closed Session

The Board went into closed session at the beginning of the meeting to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight there were two opening videos. The first at 5:30 p.m. highlighted an LPS Library Services documentary that will be released on Monday, May 3. 

The second video, at 6 p.m., featured the Food Bank of Lincoln and all of its efforts to benefit the children and families of LPS through its annual Extra Mile Walk. 

LPS LIVE Board Update

On LPS LIVE Board Update, Board Member Don Mayhew sits down with Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van DeLaCastro for an update on the foundation’s recent work.

Published: April 27, 2021, Updated: April 27, 2021