Highlights of the 1/24 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. You can watch the full Board regular meeting video here.

Special reports, presentations, and celebrations of success

Staff Celebrations

During the meeting, the Board of Education recognized those staff members in attendance who have served at Lincoln Public Schools for 25 years. There was also a small reception prior to the meeting for staff. 

First reading

Southwest High School Enhancement Project

The Board reviewed bids for a renovation project at Southwest High School as identified in Phase III of the 2020 Bond projects. Improvements will be made in Career and Technical Education spaces including family and consumer science classrooms, art and technical education. 

The Board waived second reading and approved the lowest bid by Genesis Contracting Group for $1,024,000.

Culler Middle School Enhancement Project

The Board reviewed bids for a renovation project at Culler Middle School as identified in Phase III of the 2020 Bond projects. Improvements will be made in art and career and technical education spaces, restrooms, lighting, parking replacement and traffic flow.

The Board waived second reading and approved the lowest bid by Genesis Contracting Group for $1,298,700.

ARP Technology Grant for Early Services Coordination

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed into law on March 11, 2021, offering COVID-19 related targeted IDEA Part C resources to address the challenges faced in ensuring early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Additional IDEA Part C funds were allocated to Nebraska’s Co-Lead agencies - Nebraska Department of Education and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services - to assist in the continuation and provision of early intervention services.  LPS was recently notified of additional funding.

Waived second reading and approved applying for the grant so staff could meet the grant submission deadline.

Second reading

2022-23 Mid-year appraisal of the Superintendent of Schools

Nebraska Law requires that new superintendents be evaluated twice in their first year. One of the most important responsibilities of the Lincoln Board of Education is the evaluation of the superintendent.

At this mid-year evaluation, the Lincoln Board of Education recognized and applauded Gausman’s work as the Superintendent of Schools. Comments from Board member in the summary included:

  • “Paul is very open to discussion and debate on key topics.” 
  • “Daily Communications emails keep the board informed of events. Additionally, Dr. Gausman calls board members individually to keep us informed of the most important matters. This is working well.” 
  • “Paul has been good in coming prepared to meetings with background information and plans of action/opinions with that information.  He also listens well and is willing to reconsider as he gains more knowledge.” 
  • “Dr. Gausman has exceeded all expectations when it comes to meeting with community leaders. I know more people he has met with than not! The feedback I am getting from these leaders is that he is very collaborative and willing to listen to all viewpoints.” 
  • “Dr. Gausman is progressing rapidly in familiarizing himself with LPS and the larger community. I have received many positive comments regarding Dr. Gausman’s community engagement.” 
  • “[Dr. Gausman’s] report was extremely thorough for a mid-year report. He has truly jumped in with both feet to learn how to be the Superintendent for LPS…. It will be interesting to see how his themes will develop for the April presentation.” 
  • “I appreciated Dr. Gausman’s approach to his mid-year report. As our district continues to deal with challenges, I believe Dr. Gausman has the experience, ideas, and energy to help LPS continue to improve outcomes for our children.” 
  • “Dr. Gausman has truly brought his leadership strengths of consideration, learning, and vision to LPS.” 
  • “Dr. Gausman’s personal and professional conduct has been appropriate and reflects well on the district.” 
  • “In his short time here, Paul has really taken seriously his role to visit, meet, and learn about all our various learning settings within LPS.” 
  • “At this mid-year review, I feel like Dr. Gausman is doing a fantastic job. He has surpassed all my expectations.” 

The Board voted to approve the superintendent’s mid-year evaluation.

School Choice Filing Deadline January 31, 2023 - East High School, Lincoln High School, North Star High School and Southwest High School

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.

Each year, incoming ninth grade students can choose what high school they would like to enroll in, and must turn in their High School Choice Form by January 31. 

Enrollments at East, North Star, Southwest and Lincoln High continue to exceed building capacity. Because of this, staff have determined and recommended that any additional transfer requests made after the Jan. 31 deadline not be accepted. These follow current high school enrollment procedures, and confirms past years’ practice.

The Board voted to uphold the deadline.

State 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Continuation Application

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLCs) federally-funded grant program provides grants to eligible schools for the purpose of creating or expanding Community Learning Centers. The primary purpose of 21st Century funds is to provide students with academic enrichment opportunities designed to complement their regular academic program.  All CLC services are provided during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session. The CLC’ programs and activities are designed to build on the capacity of community partners and neighborhood schools. Each site is to have an academic focus to assist participating students in meeting state and local academic achievement standards.  Families of students served may also receive services in areas that support family literacy, health, other family support services, and childcare.

This 21st Century CLC grant application is a continuation of grant funding for the Everett, Lakeview, and Mickle CLC schools.  The identified schools have specific needs which are in line with the goals of the 21st Century grant process and have successfully achieved stated outcomes in the continuation grant award. 

The Board approved the submission of this federally-funded grant application to the Nebraska Department of Education. The total amount over a five-year period is projected to be $519,500. The 100% match requirement is met by the grant community partners. No financial match is needed from Lincoln Public Schools.

Informational items and reports

Wellness, American Civics, Multicultural Committee

Committee chair Annie Mumgaard gave a report from the last meeting. The committee reviewed policies 5505 and 8001 that address school health and safety policies and programs, and developing healthy habits. 

Superintendent update

LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman announced to the Board during his update that Vann Price will now be the ongoing Associate Superintendent of Human Resources, dropping “interim” from her title.

“Dr. Price’s performance, without question, not only has exceeded my expectations, but those of my colleagues as well,” added Gausman. “She’s really demonstrated we’re making a solid transition in a department where we are providing a serious amount of focus and action right now.”

Gausman provided another transition reflection after touring LPS Special Education programs. He was able to see the new Individual Success Program at Northwest High School, and the Independence Academy sites at Meadow Lane Elementary School and the Lincoln Food Bank.

Gausman said the biggest point of learning for him while touring the programs with LPS Special Education Director Jenny Fundus was that not only were these students learning life skills, they were also working to become productive citizens in our community. 

“I am convinced after what I saw today in our programs that what we offer is so much deeper than what I have seen in other districts where I have served,” said Gausman. “I was really impressed. They not only help our students live in the community, they also help our students become a part of our community. That sense of belonging matters. I’m really proud of our team in the Special Education department.”

Gausman wrapped up his update by thanking the Board of Education for their countless hours of volunteer service in serving the community, staff and students of Lincoln Public Schools during National Board of Education Appreciation Week.

“You are a strong group of student-first leaders. You hold high expectations for yourselves and each other. For all the guff you take from time to time, I’d like to remind our community that you do not get paid for your service, and you put in more hours than a lot of other elected officials. Our students continue to be blessed because of your service,” Gausman said.

Public comment

There were five individuals that addressed the Board during public comment. You can watch the public comment agenda item in the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights Lincoln Public Schools. Tuesday’s Glimpses featured a new LPS Library Service Production” The Seat Beside you. 

Published: January 24, 2023, Updated: January 24, 2023