Highlights of the 5/9 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 9, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. The full meeting video and a summary are below.

You can watch the full Board regular meeting video here.

Public hearing on Policy 5520 - Student fees

Each year the Board conducts a public hearing under the provisions of the Nebraska Public Elementary and Secondary Student Fee Authorization Act and other Nebraska laws. The purpose of this hearing is to receive input regarding proposed updates to Policy 5520 and Appendix 1. The input received during the hearing will be taken into consideration by the Board when they take action on the updated policy.

No one addressed the Board during the public hearing.

First reading

Student fees - Policy 5520

The Board annually reviews and approves Policy 5520 to ensure that its policy is in accordance with the Public Elementary and Secondary Student Fees Authorization Act. This year, there were no proposed changes to the policy.

The district’s general policy is to provide for the free instruction in school in accordance with the Nebraska Constitution and state and federal law. This generally means that the school district’s policy is to provide free instruction for courses that are required by state law or regulation and to provide the staff, facility, equipment, and materials necessary for such instruction without charge or fee to the students.

The school district does provide activities, programs, and services to children that extend beyond the minimum level of constitutionally required free instruction. Students and their parents have historically contributed to the district’s efforts to provide such activities, programs, and services. The district’s general policy is to continue to encourage and to the extent permitted by law, to require such student and parent contributions to enhance the educational program provided by the district.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next regular meeting to reaffirm the policy.

Second reading

2022-23 Evaluation of the superintendent of schools

The Board is required to evaluate the superintendent during the first year in the position. Last meeting, Board President Don Mayhew provided a summary of Gausman’s 2022-23 evaluation submitted by the Board. 

A copy of the full public summary is available here. The Board voted to approve the evaluation.

In addition, President Mayhew announced the formation of an ad hoc committee to review the superintendent evaluation process.

Tuition charges for 2023-24

Each year, the Business Affairs Office makes recommendations to the Board of Education for tuition charges for regular and Special Education programs.  This is done in accordance with Policy 3300 and Regulation 3300.1. This is not paid by individuals, but by other school districts who are sending their students to Lincoln Public Schools for services.

The Board held a second reading and voted to approve the 2023-24 rates.

Superintendent Update

LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman addressed some of the comments made by students who came to speak during public comment regarding funding for national speech and debate tournaments. He thanked the students for appropriately sharing their passion about their activities, but he also wanted to clarify what happened.

“The students are mistakenly thinking that the Board made a change in Regulation 6525.1. LPS has never covered the cost for students to attend national speech,” Gausman said. “The Extra Standard Committee made the difficult decision to cut funding that covered staff costs making the trip to nationals because of budget constraints. This change made the trip to nationals a non-school sponsored status, which is mentioned in 6525.1.”

Gausman said staff will continue to explore options and continue to meet with students. He also mentioned that the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools is helping cover some of the costs for coaches to attend national competitions.

Later in the meeting, Gausman thanked the Board members and Board leadership for their year of service.  

“What our community may not realize is that our Board members are full time volunteers,” Gausman said. “They do not get paid for the countless hours they dedicate to learning about our school district from students, staff and families. They work through complex issues by attending committee meetings, reviewing pages upon pages of information, listening to many stakeholders through conversations and emails - each with differing opinions. And our Board members do all of that while keeping the mission of serving each and every student - all 42,000 - when making decisions. So thank you to our Board of Education members.”

Gausman gave Board President Don Mayhew, Board Vice President Connie Duncan, ESU President Bob Rauner, and ESU Vice President Lanny Boswell books that will be donated in their name to select elementary schools. Books will be given to Hill, Zeman, Randolph and Kloefkorn elementary schools.

Finally, Gausman thanked Duncan for her eight years of service on the Board. This was Duncan’s last meeting.

“Connie, force of nature should be on your nametag. As a former special education teacher - you understand the complexities of the classroom and the many challenges our staff and students face. I appreciate your passion and willingness to make the tough decisions to help carry us forward,” said Gausman. “While you will no longer be serving our community’s children through the Lincoln Board of Education - we know our students can count on your continued advocacy through the many community organizations you continue to work with. Thank you for embracing our students, for wrapping your arms around them, and providing them with support while they work to be the best that they can be.”

You can watch a highlight of the update that includes all of the Board's comments on Duncan's service here.

Public comment

There were 19 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 Southwest students who got the opportunity to receive their Red Cross CPR certification in their Intro to Health Sciences class. You can watch the Glimpses here.

Published: May 9, 2023, Updated: May 9, 2023