Highlights of 1/11 Board of Education Meetings

Special Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Special Meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office. The focus of the Special Meeting was the superintendent search. The Board opened the meeting and immediately went into closed session for the purpose of a strategy session with respect to negotiations/collective bargaining clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or for the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual in compliance with the law; and for discussions of the legal consequences of specific action and legal advice clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or for the prevention of  needless injury to the reputation of an individual in compliance with the law.

No action was taken by the Board at the close of the meeting.

Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success

Honoring Staff

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 Counselor Association named Marilynn Peaslee from Lincoln Northeast High School the 2021 Nebraska School Counselor of the Year.
  • The National Federation of State High School Associations named Lincoln Public Schools Supervisor of Music Lance Nielsen the 2021-22 Outstanding Music Educator of the Year for Nebraska.

HYA Superintendent Search Update

Representatives from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (HYA) presented the LPS Leadership Profile Report the firm compiled as part of the school district’s search process for the next superintendent. The data contained in the report were obtained from input HYA consultants received when they met with individuals and groups in either individual interviews or focus group settings, as well as from the results of an online survey completed by stakeholders. Lincoln community members, LPS staff and students were asked about their priorities for the next superintendent. 

The total number of individuals interviewed or participating within an interview group was 263. Adding the 1,184 community members, parents, students, and staff who completed the online survey, the total number of participants providing input into this report totaled 1,447. HYA held 40 interviews - consultants met with 17 individuals and hosted 23 focus groups across the school community. Included within the profile interviews were the following: teachers, support staff, administrators, community members, parents of children attending school, students, each individual school board member, and retiring Superintendent Steve Joel.

The report includes many of the comments made by those who were interviewed. The report also compiled results from those who completed the survey and were asked to select four statements they deem most important in selecting a new superintendent. The top four were:

  • Foster a positive, professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Understand and be sensitive to the needs of a diverse student population
  • Provide transparent communication

Citizens are still encouraged to visit the superintendent search webpage for more information and to read more about the process. 

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

You can watch Tuesday’s full presentation here. You can read the full report here.

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van  gave an update to the Board on recent and future accomplishments and activities:

  • Raised $25,000 dollars for the Aviation and Technical Education Focus Program at North Star High School; 
  • Raised $27,000 for the Mickle Middle School walking path;
  • Renewed the grant from the Lancaster County Human Services Department that contributes Keno funds for homeless assistance and homeless prevention;
  • The annual Educator Award nominations open Feb. 1;
  • A steering committee has been formed to help bridge the gap between high school and career. The committee includes representatives from Southeast Community College, the business sector, the chamber of commerce, LPS and the philanthropic community. The foundation will have a report on these efforts in February. 

Van also shared a story about a 2016 graduate of Lincoln Southwest High School who recently passed away. The Good Citizens Initiative fund at Southwest has been established with the foundation to honor him. This initiative creates service learning opportunities that support and promote civic responsibility, community engagement and compassion.

You can watch Tuesday’s full presentation here.

Pandemic Update

Board member Dr. Bob Rauner gave an update on how the Omicron variant is impacting our community and health care systems.

Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish gave an update on behalf of Superintendent Steve Joel. The number of cases in Lincoln Public Schools mirrors those in the community. The community can view positive COVID-19 case numbers on the website: lps.org/safereturn. The unfilled rate for substitutes was at 33 percent for Monday and 34.9 percent on Tuesday. The LPS staff exhibit extraordinary commitment to our students and families every day.

First Reading

School choice filing deadline is Jan. 31, 2022 for East, Lincoln High and North Star

Each year staff monitors enrollment trends and available capacity in schools to determine the impact on educational programs and the availability for students to transfer to a school outside their assignment area.

Enrollments at East, North Star and Lincoln High continue to exceed building capacity. In 2021-22, enrollment at Lincoln High exceeds 2,300 and exceeds nearly 2,200 at East High and North Star.

Because of these factors and in particular the ability of the school facilities to serve students, staff has determined and recommends that current high school enrollment procedures - last updated in January 2019 - be continued for the 2022-23 school year. Specifically, that high school selection forms for ninth-grade students living outside of the respective East, Lincoln High and North Star attendance areas who are selecting to attend any of these schools for the 2022-23 school year be approved as long as such forms are filed by Jan. 31, 2022. 

The Board will vote on this proposal at its next meeting.

You can find the school selection form here.

State 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Continuation Applications

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLCs) federally funded grant program provides grants to eligible schools for the purpose of creating or expanding CLCs. The primary purpose of 21st Century funds is to provide students with academic enrichment opportunities designed to complement their regular academic program. The Board held a first reading on five grant applications that would continue funding grants for existing CLCs at Belmont, Brownell and Prescott and Campbell elementary schools, and Culler Middle School. Community partners that have been identified to serve as the CLC lead agencies and to assist in the planning and service are Lincoln Parks and Recreation, Northeast Family Center, Family Service of Lincoln, Malone Community Center and Civic Nebraska

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

CLC agreements with Family Service Association, Malone Community Center and Lincoln Parks & Recreation

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: Family Service Association, Malone Community Center and Lincoln Parks & Recreation.
These agreements - totaling $852,025 - 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.

Resolution for option enrollment students - 2022-23

Nebraska students may attend a school other than the one in the district in which they live under state option enrollment statutes. The Board on Tuesday discussed a resolution for the 2022-23 school year that would admit any K-12 option students who meet the statutory and legal conditions and whose application is received by Aug. 5, 2022. The resolution specifies the circumstances under which late-filed applications would be accepted.       

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

Afghan Refugee School Impact Grant Application

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to award federal funds to provide refugee school impact services in Nebraska. Funding originated from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Administration for Children & Families - Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

The Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriation (ASA) 2022 provided the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) with specific appropriations to provide services to support citizens or nationals of Afghanistan. Many newly arrived Afghan families have young children who will need additional support to help with effective integration and education. The purpose of the Afghan Refugee School Impact (ARSI) supplement is to ensure that the goals, services and activities defined for the Refugee School Impact (RSI) program benefit those newly arrived Afghan populations. 

To be eligible to receive a subaward from NDHHS, an entity must be a Nebraska school district in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Lexington or other Nebraska school program with large Afghan Humanitarian Parolee populations.

LPS would apply to NDHHS to support a full-time bilingual liaison position dedicated to serving the needs of new Afghan arrivals to Lincoln. Bilingual liaisons are hired to serve a specific cultural group from which the liaison is also a member. The LPS proposal would also include support for school social worker time to partner with the new bilingual liaison to conduct a New Americans social/emotional support series in schools where these students would be served. 

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve an LPS application for approximately $75,000 for one year. No match is required. The application due date is Jan. 17, 2022.

Dawes Middle School Addition and Renovation

LPS recently received bids to provide additions and renovations at Dawes Middle School. It’s recommended that the lowest bid be accepted for the project: Genesis Contracting Group (Lincoln) for $5,464,000.             
There were five other bidders:

BIC Construction (Lincoln) - $5,469,000
Perry Reid Construction LLC (Lincoln) - $5,580,000
Cheever Construction (Lincoln) - $5,712,000
Sampson Construction (Lincoln) - $5,757,000
Scheele-Kayton Construction (Lincoln) - $5,993,600

These funds will come from the 2020 Bond Fund and other appropriate building funds. The Board will hold a second reading and vote on the bid at the next meeting.

Informational Items and Committee Reports

The Career Academy

Board member Lanny Boswell gave an update about the strategic plan process that the joint board will participate in.

Recruiting for the 2022-23 school year is going well. So far, 358 students have applied to attend The Career Academy next school year. This is the most they have seen in January compared to past years.

Public Comment

There were five 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 8th-grade All City Band and Orchestra and its preparation for and performance of its Jan. 6 concert.

Published: January 11, 2022, Updated: January 11, 2022