Highlights of 10/26 Board of Education Regular Meeting and Special Work Session

Board of Education Special Work Session

Before the regular meeting, the Board met to review proposals for superintendent search firms. You can view the full video of the work session here. The second half of the Work Session after the Board comes out of closed session is below.

The Board plans to interview the following search firms:

  • Hazard,Young, Attea & Associates
  • McPherson & Jacobson 

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success

Lincoln Public Schools Scholar Equity Cadre

Students who participate in the Lincoln Public Schools Scholar Equity Cadre presented to the Board. The presentation focused on the need for awareness, change and advocacy for a culture that is impacting participation and the truest intent of athletic competition. The students want to prevent negative encounters between schools at not only LPS, but also inevitably between all schools in Nebraska within the Nebraska State Activities Association. 

Members of the Cadre who presented to the Board were Zainab Funnah, 11th grade, Lincoln High School; Alaa Ismail, 11th grade, Lincoln High School; Adalia Maiyo, 11th grade, Lincoln Southeast High School; and Riek Bol, 11th grade, Lincoln High School.

The students identified the question “How can the LPS school district prevent and raise awareness of harmful, weaponized interactions between students, parents and spectators that involve LPS teams/groups that have an overall negative impact, specifically those that are directed at minorities in LPS in the future?” 

Through the cadre’s work, they met with LPS Athletics Director Kathi Wieskamp, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska State Activities Association; LPS Associate Superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations John Neal; and LPS Coordinator of Youth Development Pete Ferguson.

Student suggestions included:

  • Increasing interactions between opposing teams’ student section leaders by having ambassadors before each game meet to discuss what each school expects in regards to sportsmanship and etiquette; 
  • Encouraging student section leaders communicate what their game themes are in advance to the opposing team to ensure that the themes are appropriate; and
  • Students finding ways to communicate game expectations to their respective student sections before and during competitions, and discourage disrespectful and unsportsman-like behavior when they arise.

The goal of the group is to present prevention measures schools can take to ensure there aren’t any negative interactions among students, players, coaches and parents at all forms of competition among schools. They want to ensure and bring awareness to the importance of good sportsmanship through respect, honor and dignity.

Lincoln Community Learning Centers

In conjunction with national “Lights On Afterschool” month, Lincoln Community Learning Centers Director Nola Derby-Bennett presented to the Board about the CLCs’ work throughout the city. Derby-Bennett outlined the CLCs’ guiding principles, which are:

  • Collaboration
  • Lifelong learning
  • Integration
  • Outcome focused
  • Neighborhood based
  • Community leadership

Derby-Bennett also spoke about the CLCs’ staff, community partners, funding sources, family and neighborhood engagement, and the demographics of students who attend CLCs.

2021 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures

Superintendent Steve Joel gave an update on the pandemic plan and procedures. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department did extend the Directed Health Measure that requires face coverings inside all buildings. LPS will continue to follow the DHM and require face coverings inside buildings for all students, staff and visitors.

In addition, today was the first day that elementary students have access to video lessons if they are excluded from school. There were roughly 200 students who utilized these videos on the first day.
Joel noted that - like school districts across the country - LPS has been struggling with class covers when teachers have to miss work due to quarantining. This can cause stress on school administrators and teachers, who sometimes have to give up their plan periods to cover other classes. With that in mind, LPS is increasing the pay for individual class covers from $38 to $50. LPS will use federal ESSER funds to pay for this increase.

First Reading

Community Learning Centers agreements

LPS has various sites throughout the school district that provide services related to Community Learning Center activities.

It was recommended Tuesday that LPS continue agreements with the following organizations to offer programming and services at various LPS locations: Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County; Cedars Youth Services; Civic Nebraska; Lincoln Housing Authority; Willard Community Center; YMCA of Lincoln. and Northeast Family Center

These agreements - totaling $929,688 - will be paid for through a combination of LPS general funds, federal funds and grants.

The Board will vote on the proposed agreements at its next meeting.

New High Schools Gymnasium Equipment Install Package

LPS requested bids for the installation of gymnasium equipment for the two new high schools under construction. There was one bid submitted:

Sports Construction Midwest (Adel, Iowa) - $29,360

The Board will vote on the bid at its next meeting. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

New High Schools Signage

LPS requested bids for signage for the two new high schools under construction and received the following:

ASI Signage Solutions (Omaha) - $118,130
Love Signs LLC (Grand Island) - $126,518.22
Ace Sign Displays (South Sioux City, Neb.) - $133,580
Nebraska Sign (Lincoln) - $179,189

The Board will vote on the lowest bid, from ASI Signage Solutions, at its next meeting. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

New High Schools Goal Posts

LPS requested bids for goal posts for the football fields at the two new high schools under construction and received the following:

Stadium Sports (Wayne, Neb.) - $30,280
Sportsfield Specialties (Delhi, NY) - $35,694

The Board will vote on the lowest bid, from Stadium Sports, at its next meeting.

Standing Bear High School Glulams

LPS sought bids for glulams for the new Standing Bear High School currently under construction. Glulam is a stress-rated engineered wood beam composed of wood laminations that are bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant adhesives. This will be used in the schools’ swimming pool areas. LPS received the following bids:

R.E.W Supply LTD (St. Paul, Minn.) - $474,000
Bell Structural Solutions (New Brighton, Minn.) - $507,230
Western Wood Structures (Tualatin, Oregon) - $513,008
Leslie Structural Sales (Omaha, Neb.) - $582,750
Timber Systems LLC (Lapeer, Mich.) - $600,426

The Board will vote on the lowest bid, from R.E.W Supply LTD, at its the next meeting.

Second 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 voted to approve the guidelines.

Informational Items and Committee Reports

Ad-Hoc Committee for Redistricting

Board member Lanny Boswell serves on this committee with Board members Barb Baier and Kathy Danek. They recently met with the Lancaster County election commissioner to discuss the process and timeline for school district redistricting. 

Next steps include the election commissioner re-drawing precinct boundaries in Lancaster County. Once that work is complete, the committee will be able to review the census counts for the current LPS Board sub-districts and see what adjustments need to be made. The requirement is that each sub-district be substantially equal in population. There are roughly 295,000 people in the LPS school district, meaning each LPS sub-district will have approximately 42,000 people. Deadline for Board approval of the new sub-district divisions is the end of the calendar year. The committee plans to have recommendations ready for first reading at the Nov. 23 Regular Meeting, with second reading and approval at the Dec. 14 Regular Meeting. 

Public Comment

There were three citizens who 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 the LPS student-led Equity Cadre and its goals and mission. 

Published: October 26, 2021, Updated: October 26, 2021