Highlights of 5/11 Board of Education Regular Meeting
The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, May 11, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.
Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success
The Board recognized two staff members with formal resolutions for awards they recently won. The Nebraska Educational Office Professionals Association honored LPS Director of Library Services Dr. Chris Haeffner with its Educational Administrator of the Year Award. The American Psychological Association has honored Lincoln High School teacher Lindsey Herting with the Charles T. Blair-Broeker Excellence in Teaching Award.
American Indian Demonstration Grant Update
LPS Director of Federal Programs Linda Hix and LPS American Indian Youth Demonstration Grant Coordinator Barbara Buttes presented an update to the Board of Education on the American Indian Demonstration Grant. There are currently four areas of structured support offered through Lincoln Public Schools: Social/Emotional/Behavioral, Academic, Cultural, and College/Career Readiness.
Federal grant funds support the goal of ensuring programs that serve Native American children are of the highest quality and provide for not only the basic elementary and secondary educational needs, but also the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children. Decisions regarding the use of these funds are made in consultation with the Native American Advisory Committee. LPS served 558 Native American students in 2020-21 and will serve 665 next school year.
Lincoln Public Schools has received federal funds to serve Native American students since the mid-1980s and will continue to do so for the 2021-22 school year. On Tuesday the Board held a first reading on the grant application, waived second reading and approved the submission of an application for $164,298 in federal funding for the 2021-22 school year.
2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update
Superintendent Steve Joel gave the latest Pandemic Update to the Board. Joel thanked the staff and the community for getting us through this school year.
At the beginning of this semester, families were given the opportunity to enroll in the Remote Learning Program for the 2021-22 school year. Over the last two weeks we opened the enrollment again and gave families an option to either opt-out or opt-in to the program for next year.
Our staff has been working diligently on planning and staffing the one-year Remote Learning Program for next school year. There is a lot of work to be done to launch a program of this magnitude, and we needed to start the work early prior to knowing what conditions were going to be and if the vaccine would be available for students.
With the vaccine now being approved for ages 12 and older, combined with improved community conditions, we’ve directed staff to re-evaluate if a Remote Learning Program would be viable next school year - especially in the middle and high school levels, where the vaccine is available. We have not made a final decision on this yet; we are just evaluating the program. Parents will be notified as soon as possible if there is a change in the program.
Because the vaccine is not available yet to elementary-aged children, we will continue building the Remote Learning Program for grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
Naming of new high school in northwest Lincoln
A committee of 12 community members (Randy Bretz, Rich Claussen, John Goodwin, John Harris, Randy Hawthorne, Dayna Krannawitter, Marian Price, Willie Shafer, Tammy Ward, George Weaver, Larry Wright and John Yoakum) and three Board members (Don Mayhew, Barbara Baier and Annie Mumgaard) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new high school to be built in northwest Lincoln at NW 48th and West Holdrege streets. More than 200 names were suggested by more than 900 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions, gather input from students through surveys, and make a recommendation to the Board.
The committee unanimously recommended that the new school be named Lincoln Northwest High School. The Board will vote on the proposed name at its next meeting.
The Lincoln Board of Education annually reviews and approves Policy 5520 to ensure that its policy is in accordance with the Public Elementary and Secondary Student Fees Authorization Act.
Computers for high school and middle school labs
The school district’s CLASS (Connected Learning for the Achievement of Students and Staff) technology plan provides funds to continue the practice of providing two labs of Apple desktop computers at each high school and one lab of Apple desktop computers at each middle school. These desktop computers support coursework in visual art, photography, business and music production.
Coursework in these subject areas require the use of application software from Microsoft and Adobe; these applications don’t run on Chromebooks assigned to students. Additionally, the work performed with these applications benefits from a full-size, high-resolution monitor. This proposed purchase includes the latest Mac Mini computers and Dell 24" monitors.
It was recommended on Tuesday that the Board award $560,880 to Apple for the purchase of 720 Mac Mini computers and $94,284 to Dell for the purchase of 720 Dell 24" Monitors.
The Board waived second reading and approved the purchase.
Naming New Elementary School
The Board voted in favor of naming the new elementary school to be built in northeast Lincoln Ada Robinson Elementary School. Robinson was 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.
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 for the school that will be built 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 the school be named after Ada Robinson.
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 voted to approve that Superintendent Steve Joel’s contract be extended for three years with a proposed compensation increase.
The approved salary for the superintendent for the 2021-22 year is $334,515. That amount represents a salary increase of 1.51 percent and a total salary package increase of 1.58 percent after taking a pay freeze during the 2020-21 school year.
Board members offered the following comments as part of the review:
Don Mayhew: “In a most difficult year where there is no such thing as a playbook, Dr. Joel was simply incredible. I’ve had this thought several times in the last 11 years, but I found myself thinking yet again: Dr. Joel was exactly the right leader at the right time to bring us through this situation successfully.”
Annie Mumgaard: “The amount of teamwork, communication, decision-making skills, and sleepless nights that were needed to make our Pandemic Plan is beyond my comprehension. I only know that the plan that was developed and enacted has gotten students, teachers, staff, and parents through a most difficult year with learning happening and all kept in the best health possible.”
Connie Duncan: “An amazing 600-page document, millions of Zoom meetings and educating our students as much at as high of a level possible as we could in the classroom. Bravo!”
Board President Kathy Danek added the following at Tuesday’s meeting: “Dr. Joel has been a good and faithful servant to the community of Lincoln. When we did the evaluation this year it was noted by all Board members that the hard work of putting together an alternative plan could not be done in isolation. And there are still school districts all over this country that have not had a day of school in person.”
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 was recommended that the proposed three-year contract for each of the associate superintendents be amended and extended to June 30, 2024. On Tuesday the Board voted in favor of a total salary increase of 1.51 percent and overall total package increase of 1.60 percent for this group for 2021-22 after taking a pay freeze during the 2020-21 school year.
The Board also voted that a 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.
The new annual salaries are:
- 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
Update from the Superintendent
Joel reported he is looking forward to congratulating approximately 3,000 seniors as they walk across the graduation stage at the end of May.
Four citizens addressed the Board during the Public Comment periods. You can view their comments in the full meeting video here.
The Board adjourned into closed session.
Glimpses of LPS
We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s meeting featured a West Lincoln Elementary School student who helped his teacher teach a lesson about electrical circuits.
LPS LIVE Board Update
On LPS LIVE Board Update, Board Member Don Mayhew sits down with LPS Director of Federal Programs Linda Hix and LPS American Indian Youth Demonstration Grant Coordinator Barbara Buttes to discuss the school district’s work with American Indian students.
Published: May 11, 2021, Updated: May 11, 2021