Highlights: 9/13 Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 regular meetings

Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. 

Special reports, presentations and celebrations of success

Staff Celebration:  Lorinda Rice, LPS Curriculum Specialist Honored with Nebraska Art Teacher Association Roscoe Shield Service Award

The Nebraska Art Teachers Association has selected Lorinda Rice as the 2022 Roscoe Shields Service Award winner. This award recognizes an individual who has exhibited dedication and commitment to art education in Nebraska through sustained leadership and service. It is the highest award the Nebraska Art Teachers Association has to offer.

As curriculum specialist for Visual Art at Lincoln Public Schools, Lorinda Rice has been instrumental in leading and emphasizing the key concepts of art education at LPS. The community partnerships she has cultivated have provided more enriching and meaningful hands-on learning opportunities for students. In addition, Lorinda is currently assisting a University of Nebraska - Lincoln team with researching inquiry-based art education and its impact on student learning.

Lorinda has gained a national reputation as a renowned practitioner and presenter covering topics from student ideation and classroom management, to curriculum development and educational technology. She has also served as an officer multiple times on state and national association boards.

First reading

2022-2023 Board of Education and superintendent's annual goals and priorities

Each year, the Board evaluates the superintendent and develops annual priorities for the superintendent to focus on during the upcoming school year. 

During Paul Gausman’s first year as superintendent, the Board has outlined the following superintendent goals for the 2022-2023 school year:

Transition Reports
Present a midyear transition report to the Board by Nov. 22. This will include preliminary findings, emerging themes and potential recommendations based on input from internal and external stakeholders. 

The superintendent will also present an end-of-year transition report to the Board by April 25. Transition updates should include themes based on school visits, community conversations, and staff interviews; as well as, any recommendations regarding school district organizational structures, systems and programs.

Strategic Planning
Develop and present to the Board a framework and timeline for the next LPS Strategic plan by April 25. The plan should include authentic input and ownership from staff, students, families and the Lincoln community. It should also integrate and reinforce the LPS All Means All Action Plan.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the goals at the next meeting.

2022-2023 LPS budget adoption

The Board held its first reading on the proposed 2022-2023 budget and will vote on it at the Sept. 27 meeting. A public hearing will be held on Monday, Sept. 26, at 6:00 p.m. in the Boardroom at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center.

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 proposed budget totals about $490 million. This is an average 2.3% increase over the 2019-2020 budget year.

Other highlights of the 2022-2023 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.
  • Spend nearly $643-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 startup of bowling and girls wrestling at the high schools.
  • Reduce the use of cash flow from $2,124,040 to $234,067.

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

After the presentation, Board Finance Chair Kathy Danek said, “I just want to say thank you to Dr. Standish. Your leadership has been impeccable. There have been things added this year, like bowling and girls wrestling. Thank you for making sure we have resources available for the students of Lincoln Public Schools.”

2022-2023 LPS property tax request

The Board held a first reading and will vote at the next meeting on the LPS property tax request to fund the 2022-2023 proposed budget. This is part of the annual budget process each year.

The proposed total levy rate drops .37 of one cent to $1.207169 and includes:

  • General Fund levy unchanged at $1.05
  • Bond Fund levy drops slightly to $.0139095
  • Qualified Capital Purpose Fund levy drops slightly to $0.018074

Policy updates - 3000 series

Board policies are reviewed regularly following a schedule to make sure the policies match current practices and ensure compliance with local, state and national laws. 

Some of the changes to the policies include:

  • Adding language about budget hearings to align with new state laws.
  • Adjusting when announcements of monetary donations to LPS can be announced.
  • Adjusting bid requirements to match guidance by the Nebraska Department of Education.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the changes at the next meeting.

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend.
The proposal assigns the newly annexed area of Lacy Addition CUP to Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next meeting.

Policy update for authorization of student activities - 6700

LPS reviews policies on an ongoing basis and updates policies to ensure that they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the district and changes in state law and federal law.

The budget proposed for 2022-2023 includes additional funding for boys and girls bowling and girls wrestling to the list of authorized student activities. These activities have recently been sanctioned by the Nebraska State Activities Association. The revision of Policy 6700 adds these activities to the approved list in the policy.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the changes at the next meeting.

Second reading

Policy 6443 - Parental and Family Engagement

Each year the Board of Education is required to review and approve Policy 6443 about parent and family engagement.

All parents and family members of LPS students are welcomed and encouraged to become involved with their child’s school and education. Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson outlined just some of the ways LPS engages with parents and families throughout the school year. Those include Community Curriculum Council, School Improvement Teams, Special Education Networking Program, Family Literacy Program, Title I Programs, Native American Advisory Council, Community Learning Centers School Neighborhood Advisory Committees, Early Childhood Program, and as necessary special meetings are scheduled throughout different groups.

The Board voted to reaffirm the policy.

Policy 6450 - Controversial Issues Policy

At the request of a parent, Policy 6450 was reviewed by staff and proposed modifications that were presented to the Student Learning and Technology Committee. The committee made a recommendation to the Board to modify language that clarified the current policy. Those changes included changing “Teachers should notify parents” to “Teachers will notify parents”, and “Notification will be far enough in advance that teachers can provide students alternative learning activities if the students and/or the student’s parents object to the controversial issue being studied and wish to opt-out of a specific component of the curriculum.”

The Board voted to approve the changes.

2022-2023 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 direction to LPS staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies.  

The Board voted to approve the legislative guidelines.

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend.

The proposal assigns the newly annexed area of Grandview Estates 2nd Addition to  Wysong Elementary School, Moore Middle School and East High School.

The Board voted to approve the proposal.

The Career Academy first amended and restated interlocal agreement

In 2013, LPS entered into a partnership with Southeast Community College to create The Career Academy. From time to time, amendments to the original agreement are proposed to align with TCA’s current practices and procedures.

Changes to the latest amendment include better defining some of the terms, and clearly identifying financial responsibilities.

The Board voted to approve the agreement.

Informational items and reports

Superintendent Update

LPS Superintendent provided an update to the Board. He spoke about his observations as he has been touring the school district and held conversations with community members. Some of the narrative he hears in the Midwest is around public schools and school choice. 

Gausman said, “I am absolutely pleased and amazed with the choices that I am learning about that students have in this community.”

He also added he is impressed in how LPS is transparent and allows community engagement in the budgeting process. He indicated he has learned so much in the last two months. 

Gausman took the opportunity on the microphone to share with the Board and the community about two upcoming Interview Fairs on Sept. 26 and Oct. 18 for support staff members. There are still over 150 open positions in the areas of transportation, custodial, nutrition services, para educators and health office. The community can learn more about the Interview Fairs at https://home.lps.org/hr/fair/.

Gausman also provided an update from the last Board meeting where he indicated he would look further into a staff learning session. 

Gausman said he met with the presenter, Ryan Sallans, and multiple LPS staff members who attended the session to discuss what exactly was said. When asked about some of the community member statements posted on social media regarding the training, Mr. Sallans replied that he did not advocate for teens to have more sex. The statement reported on social media was not said during the session. 

Gausman added, “I do believe, however, that individuals heard and took away from the session what they wanted to, as it is common for individuals to interpret conversations through the prism of their own experiences, knowledge, and biases.”

Gausman went on to say the data and information presented during the session were geared toward a group of LPS professional clinicians trained to support all students with their mental and physical health needs so students are able to better focus on learning in school.

“You see, this is what this is about - student achievement. That’s our core mission and we have the opportunity and honor to serve all as we bring about student achievement,” said Gausman.

Gausman learned through his conversation with Sallans that he is a nationally recognized speaker who has been invited by health care facilities, judicial systems, and U.S. military bases to conduct professional learning sessions. 

Gausman told the Board that the LPS staff who invited Mr. Sallans and helped organize this training session are highly-qualified professionals with the best interest of students at the heart of their mission. 
“This learning session, along with the 35-hundred-plus hours of training offered to LPS staff throughout the year, was thoughtfully curated to help our staff support the mission ‘All Means All’, and the students who walk through our doors,” added Gausman.

Gausman also said, “As educators, we need to help eliminate barriers so students can be successful in school. Understanding and building empathy for a child - or any human being - does not force our staff to adopt something contrary to their beliefs; rather, it helps them recognize the daily challenges a child may face that create barriers to their learning.”  

He closed the matter by saying to the Board, “I am proud of the work Lincoln Public Schools is doing to support our students, and we will continue to provide training for staff to assist them in serving all students so long as you tell me that ‘All Means All’. And I agree.”

Board Chair Don Mayhew added that he wanted to correct misinformation shared in the community by saying Board members did not take any action to officially approve the presentation by Mr. Sallans. 

Mayhew added, “Last year we had some 35-hundred hours of training provided to staff and those do not typically rise to the level of Board approval for individual workshops or training.”

Mayhew told the Board that Mr. Sallans held a lunch workshop in which he attended. Mayhew said that when he attended that preview workshop, none of the comments circulating on social media were in that preview presentation.

Public comment

There were six 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. In honor of National Arts in Education week, Tuesday’s video featured highlights from Kloefkorn Elementary School and Arts and Humanities Focus Program. 

ESU 18 meeting

ESU 18 met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, immediately following the Board of Education Meeting. You can watch a video of the full meeting here after the Board of Education meeting.

ESU Administrator Sarah Salem provided a brief summary about what services an Education Service Unit provides to Lincoln Public Schools. Every ESU in Nebraska is required to provide school districts with professional development, technology, library media, assessment and evaluation services. There is a network across the state that provides distance learning through the ESUs for students. In addition, the Pathfinder program served by the ESU allows Nebraska students who are awaiting a decision by the court system to receive an education.

2022-23 Educational Service Unit 18 budget adoption and property tax request

The ESU 18 Board held its first reading on the proposed 2022-2023 budget and will vote on it at the Sept. 27 meeting. A public hearing will be held on Monday, Sept. 26, in the Boardroom at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center.


Published: September 13, 2022, Updated: September 13, 2022