Highlights of 12/14 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success

Staff Awards

The Board frequently honors staff who win state or national awards with formal resolutions. On Tuesday, the Board recognized two staff members:

  • The Nebraska School Librarians Association named Sara Friest from Lincoln Southeast High School the 2021 Nebraska School Librarian of the Year.
  • The Nebraska Society of Health and Physical Educators named Alissa Cookston from Riley Elementary School the 2021 Nebraska Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year.


HYA Superintendent Search Update

Mike Richie from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (HYA) offered an update on his firm’s progress on the school district’s search process for the next superintendent. Since Sunday and through Wednesday (tomorrow) evening, HYA will have conducted 29 focus groups to gather feedback from Lincoln community members, LPS staff and students about their priorities for the next superintendent. The firm has spoken extensively with individual school board members, as well. The firm has decided to add an additional Zoom focus group for teachers, which will take place Jan. 6 at 6 p.m.

“The student group was phenomenal,” Richie added. “We had about 28 students and their responses were for 45 minutes to an hour - they went non-stop. They said great things.”

A representative from the firm will be at the Jan. 11 Board meeting to present the final district leadership profile report. In the meantime, Richie encouraged citizens to visit the superintendent search webpage, complete the survey and read more about the process. So far more than 700 people have completed the survey.

He noted there have already been 12 applicants for the position and the firm is reaching out to 16 other candidates who have been highly recommended.

On Jan. 25, HYA will present the slate of candidates to the Board.

Focus Program Update

LPS Director of Strategic Initiatives & Focus Programs James Blake presented an update on the school district’s focus programs, beginning with the two original programs: the Science Focus Program and the Arts & Humanities Program. He also touched on the International Baccalaureate Program at Lincoln High School, the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Lincoln Northeast High School, The Career Academy, as well as programs that will launch in 2022-23: the Early College and Career STEM Program at Northeast, Bryan College of Health and Sciences at the new Lincoln Northwest High School, and the Bay Focus Program. 

Pandemic Update

During the Pandemic Update, Board Member Dr. Bob Rauner provided information about what hospitals are seeing as far as capacity. Hospitals are now approaching “Crisis of Care.” That means that hospitals are so full, doctors will have to make difficult decisions about who can receive immediate medical attention and who will have to wait or find another provider outside of our community.

First Reading

Risk Management Information System

LPS requested proposals from interested vendors to provide a Risk Management Information System system, implementation services and maintenance to replace the current system that is more than 30 years old. The contract would be effective from Jan. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2027.

It’s recommended that LPS enter into an agreement with Origami Risk Inc. (Chicago, Ill.). The contract includes software, maintenance, training, hardware and implementation services.

The estimated cost will be $943,150 from Federal and General Funds.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the agreement.

Lincoln East High School Enhancement and Renovation Project

LPS recently received bids to provide enhancements and renovations at Lincoln East High School. It’s recommended that the lowest bid be accepted for the project:

BIC Construction LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $1,459,000
(Alternate #2 Clerestory Windows will also be included in this project, so adjusted total is $1,502,600)              
There were four other bidders:

Rogge General Contractors, Inc. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $1,479,000
Genesis Contracting Group, LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $1,489,000
Perry Reid Construction, LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $1,544,000
Kingery Construction Co. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $1,560,000

These funds will come from the 2020 Bond Fund. The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the proposed bid.

Proposed Mid-Year Adjustments and Memorandum of Understanding with the Transportation Employees Association

The low unemployment numbers in Lincoln, high need and competition for workers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses in multiple industries, and the unique nature of the transportation worker position require LPS to make a mid-year adjustment to the agreement with the transportation workers at LPS. The Board has recognized the Transportation Employees Association (TEA) as the exclusive bargaining agent to negotiate salary, fringe benefits and working conditions for members of the TEA.

The proposed changes are as follows:

  • All transportation drivers will receive a $3.51 increase in the rate of pay and the new base pay rate will be $23 per hour. The driver trainee rate will remain at $17.20 and will increase to the regular driver pay once a route is assigned.    
  • All transportation paras will receive a $.50 increase in the rate of pay and the new base pay rate will be $14.63 per hour. 
  • The sign-on bonus will increase from a net $500 bonus to a net $1,000 bonus.   
  • Although not encompassed in the MOU, substitute driver and para pay will increase to the starting pay rates of regular drivers ($23) and paras ($14.63).

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding.
Transportation and HR staff will be holding a “Fast Track Hiring Day” for bus drivers and transportation paras on Thursday, Dec. 16 from 7am- 7pm. For more information, go to lps.org/fasthire.

Second Reading

Newly Annexed Properties to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed multiple parcels of land, which automatically brings these properties into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. These properties need to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in these areas will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcels of land and their proposed attendance areas are:

  • Aster Road and Tallgrass Parkway, final plat #21070, for the 2021-22 school year: Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star High School
  • Reunion Ridge Cup, Annexation Ordinance #21151, for 2021-22 school year: Adams Elementary School, Moore Middle School and Southwest High School

The Board voted to approve the proposed attendance areas.

Board Member Election Districts

The Board on Tuesday voted to approve updated Board member election districts.

After the federal census is conducted - every 10 years - the Board works with the Lancaster County election commissioner to adjust the seven sub-district boundaries to account for changes in population.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.

After holding a Special Work Session Nov. 23 - at which no citizens spoke - the Board held first reading on the option put forth. The proposal was published Wednesday, Nov. 24, on the LPS website for community review and an opportunity for the public to submit questions and comments.

Superintendent’s Update

Superintendent Steve Joel thanked the teachers, staff and community supporters for pushing through the challenges this school year. 

He also announced a School Closure Day on Wednesday, Dec. 15, due to the forecasted high winds and dangerous conditions, saying, “Forecasts for tomorrow call for hurricane-like winds late morning through evening. When we saw the forecast we thought it’s not going to be good for our buses, for parent pick-up, and for kids who have to walk home.” 

Public Comment

There were 12 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 students and staff from Lincoln Northeast High School and Mickle Middle School who are participating in a mentoring program that provides a bridge from middle school to high school. 

Published: December 14, 2021, Updated: December 14, 2021