Highlights of 10/12 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success

Staff Recognition

The Board regularly honors staff members who have been honored with state or national awards. At Tuesday’s meeting the Board presented a formal resolution to Pound Middle School art teacher Shelby Rix, who was recently named the Nebraska Middle School Art Educator of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association.

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van presented the organization’s annual report to the Board. Among the highlights:

  • The Foundation raised $3,925,234 for LPS students and teachers in 2020-21.
  • Van said the Foundation has spent a lot of time listening to LPS, community partners and donors. “This is really about our community saying, ‘All really does mean all.’”
  • The Foundation has worked in partnership with the Lancaster County Corrections Department on a driver’s education fund. This fund helps pay for driver’s education for students in poverty.
  • The Foundation continues to help fund Bubba’s Closet, which provides winter clothing to LPS elementary students in need. The goal is to provide roughly 900 winter coats to students this year.
  • An LPS student has received the first award from the Stu Elliott Student Assistance Fund, which offers support to financially challenged students. Elliott graduated from Lincoln Southeast High School in 1967 and prior to that attended Lefler Middle School and Calvert Elementary School. The fund helps bridge the opportunity gap that prevents some students from reaching their full potential.
  • Arnold Elementary School recently broke ground on a new walking path and playground. The Foundation has worked with the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln and the Arnold PTO to raise nearly $171,000 for the project. Similar projects are underway at Riley Elementary School and Mickle Middle School.

ESSER II Funding Report

Director of Federal Programs Linda Hix presented on how LPS utilized the second round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds toward learning acceleration in summer 2021. The total federal dollars spent were $5,530,475. Hix offered the following breakdown of those expenditures for learning acceleration:

K-8 summer school:

  • Elementary student attendance - 2,098
  • Middle school student attendance - 699
  • 571 teachers
  • Expenditures: $1,254,600

Jump Start for incoming kindergarten and first-grade students:

  • 288 teachers
  • Expenditures: $147,000

High school summer school:

  • 41 teachers
  • Expenditures beyond regular summer school costs: $277,000

Graduation Pathways:

  • One additional teacher worked with students and three teachers worked on curriculum development for new courses for the 2021-22 school year. (Learn more about this program here.)
  • Expenditures: $7,800

Special Education:

  • Additional special education teacher support was provided during summer school and throughout the remainder of the summer as needed by individual students and small groups. 
  • Expenditures: $100,300

Mental health:

  • LPS contracted additional hours with community mental health providers to be available to students both in-person and through tele-health, resulting in 79 students benefiting from this support.
  • Expenditures: $36,300

Additional teacher plan time:

  • 695 teachers participated during the summer
  • Expenditures: $146,350

Additional teacher professional development:

  • 2,000 certified staff members participated with an average of eight hours per staff member.
  • Expenditures: $503,000

Bilingual liaisons:

  • 2,000 certified staff members participated with an average of eight hours per staff member.
  • Expenditures: $503,000

Summer curriculum work:

  • The Curriculum and Instruction Department purchased resources and developed curriculum for the summer of 2021, the 2021-22 school year. Additional funds will be spent during the school year.
  • Expenditures: $451,525

Remote Learning Program:

  • Summer salaries for staff were covered. Technology and supplies were purchased to prepare for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Expenditures: $234,900

Early Childhood:

  • Five teachers
  • Expenditures: $12,100


  • Chromebooks were purchased for kindergarten and first-grade use during the 2021-22 school year.
  • Expenditures: $2,082,800

Read 180:

  • Subscriptions for reading intervention were purchased for summer and school year use.
  • Expenditures: $273,700

Hix said the committee and the LPS Assessment and Evaluation Department are continuing to study the success of these programs and will consider which programs to continue in the future.

2021 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures

LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish offered an update on transportation challenges. The transportation team reconfigures routes every day to have drivers pick up extra routes due to a shortage of bus drivers. The shortage is not only happening at Lincoln Public Schools, but also in school districts across the state and nation. Transportation staff make adjustments each day while working to limit the impact on families. 

There have been questions from the community about a change in staffing practices. Standish reports the changes that were made allow the transportation department to operate more efficiently and offer benefits and full-time pay for drivers. There were a number of part-time drivers that stepped up to fill the full-time positions, and LPS is grateful to those drivers. Adjusting schedules back to the previous practice would result in less drivers for the school district to utilize, as those current drivers would move to part time, which would cover fewer routes in the afternoon. Standish thanked the families for their patience and understanding as we continue to work through the driver shortage.

Superintendent Steve Joel updated the Board on the Oct. 1 enrollment snapshot, which included a growth of more than 200 students at LPS. 

Board Leadership Committee Chair Don Mayhew updated the Board about discussions on adjusting Board Operating procedures. The committee decided to table the topic until May and follow the reorganization process already in place.

Board member Bob Rauner also updated the Board on current COVID-19 information in Lincoln-Lancaster County.

First Reading

Legislative guidelines

Each year, various federal, state and local governmental bodies will consider legislative and administrative actions that will have an impact on Lincoln Public Schools. In order to communicate the positions of the Lincoln Board of Education, the Board approves legislative guidelines that provide guidance to district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies. These guidelines can be viewed here.

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

Second Reading

Policy 6443 - Parental and Family Engagement

At the Board’s last meeting it conducted a hearing to receive input regarding proposed Policy 6443, which can be viewed here. This policy is related to the Nebraska Parental Involvement Act and other Nebraska and federal laws. No citizens addressed the Board during the hearing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board voted to approve the revised policy.

Woods Charitable Trust Grant Application

LPS is proposing to apply for a grant from the Lincoln-based Woods Charitable Fund that would support partnerships in the community for the Two Generation Family Literacy Program. The grant application request will be for up to $75,000 per year for three years, with no match requirement. This grant would allow the program to support new and existing partnerships with organizations in Lincoln that offer education and enrichment to participating families.

Family Literacy is a family-centered approach to education that brings children and families together to learn. Participating parents attend their child’s school Monday through Friday, two hours per day. Parents identify educational and career goals, engage in learning English with other parents, and spend time together with their children connecting curricular objectives with family learning activities.

The Board voted to approve the application. It’s due Oct. 31, 2021.

Public Comment

There were 11 citizens that addressed the Board during the first public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our school district. Tuesday’s video featured MOSAIC, the LPS Library Services Department’s annual celebration of the growth in high-quality literature featuring underrepresented cultures.

Published: October 12, 2021, Updated: October 12, 2021