Highlights: 7/26 Lincoln Board of Education Work Session and Regular Meeting

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Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session prior to the regular meeting for the purpose of discussing the proposed preliminary 2022-2023 Budget.

Lincoln Public Schools prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenues. LPS experienced a 23% drop in State Equalization Aid over two years and utilized cash flow to balance previous budgets. In addition, there were drops in revenue and student enrollment related to the pandemic.

After two years of a relatively flat budget, LPS is looking at moderate budget growth with an investment in staff, opening new schools and addressing previous budget cuts. The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $489.7 million. This is an average 2.3% increase over the 2019-2020 budget year.

Other highlights of the 2022-2023 preliminary proposed budget include:

  • A priority investment on staffing with an estimated 4.11% total compensation package increase.
  • Increasing the school supplies budget by nearly $300,000 to address previous years’ cuts.
  • Approximately $3.7 million for new schools opening.
  • Spend nearly $290-thousand to help catch up the CLASS plan in purchasing devices that were delayed in previous years due to budget reductions.
  • Replacing approximately $283-thousand in curriculum purchases due to budget cuts.
  • Increase in transportation services for Early Childhood.
  • Add a social worker to the Threat Assessment Team.
  • Provide funding for the start up of bowling and girls wrestling at the high schools.

More information can be found on our website: lps.org/budget.

Regular Meeting

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

Special reports, presentations and celebrations of success

School safety and security report

LPS Director of Security Joe Wright, Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins and Assistant Chief Jason Stille updated the Board on the school district’s safety and security efforts.

School safety is a multifaceted approach that includes threat assessment, Standard Response Protocols and community partnerships. Wright started the presentation by reviewing current safety features and protocols at each of our buildings. He then talked about how LPS continuously collaborates with community partners like the Lincoln Police Department to review and update school safety and security protocols. Multiple trainings and drills take place each year to identify areas that need improvement, as well as, to train LPS employees and community partners. 

Second reading

2022-23 transportation plan

Each year a transportation plan is prepared and presented to the Board. As part of the process, district policy 3710 is reviewed and recommendations for operational changes are solicited from individual school buildings and various departments. Schedules are prepared and a summary of needs is balanced against staff and equipment available. Each year a review of all routes for the current year are considered.

The Board voted to approve the plan.

Policy 7000 - Section 7: evaluation and identification procedures

As a result of ongoing work with the Nebraska Department of Education during the 2021-2022 school year, it is recommended that Policy 7000, Section 7, be updated. 

Policy 7000 pertains to Special Education Services and Section 7 to Evaluation and Identification Procedures. The proposed addition specifically outlines that during a pandemic (or similar circumstances) that the school district is responsible to meet all evaluation obligations, unless a waiver is granted by the Nebraska Department of Education.

The Board voted to approve the plan.

Computer laptops for certificated staff

The CLASS Technology Plan articulates a cascading 6-year life cycle and resale of computers provided to certificated staff.  Those on a 6-year life cycle are used by certificated staff for the first 3-years and then they are used for an additional 3 years in middle school computer labs.  The balance of the computers are resold to provide needed revenue to fund the CLASS plan.  The proposed computers will replace computers purchased for certificated staff in 2019 and Federal Emergency Connectivity Funds will provide $400 toward the cost of each of 3,666 of the computers.

It is recommended that the Board award the bid to Apple Computer Education Coordinator for $3,234,720.00 to purchase 3,680 laptop computers that will be deployed to certificated staff during the 2022-2023 school year.

The Boardvoted to approve the bid.

Informational items and reports

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Paul Gausman gave an update during his first Board meeting in the role. He spoke about all of the schools and events in Lincoln he visited during his trips prior to officially starting. Gausman also shared how the transition has been going in his first month.

Gausman added that he and staff have been meeting with the health department to review the Safe Return to School Plan for the next school year and how face coverings will be used.

“I want to be very clear that I think this school district has done an admirable job of navigating the challenges,” said Gausman. “At this time, we have been meeting with the health department and we will have a targeted philosophy in place. I ask you to remember that we have 131.41 square miles in this school district…what's needed over here may not always be needed necessarily over there. We are going to make decisions based on the priorities of keeping schools open, keeping them all [students and staff] safe and using data and science for decisions.” 

Board member Bob Rauner addressed community questions the Board has received about specific thresholds for certain decisions.

Public comment

There were eight individuals that addressed the Board during public comment. You can watch the public comments in the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights Lincoln Public Schools. Tuesday’s video featured the middle school orchestra camp.

Published: July 26, 2022, Updated: July 27, 2022