Highlights of the 9/12 Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 regular meetings

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. The Educational Service Unit 18 held its regular meeting immediately after.

Board of Education Regular Meeting

Special reports, presentations and celebrations of success

Staff celebrations

Judy Bush - Lincoln Public Schools K-12 Music Teacher Leader
Judy Bush serves as a K-12 music teacher leader within Lincoln Public Schools in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Department.

Judy was honored with the Bryan R. Johnson Distinguished Service Award during the 2022 annual banquet hosted by the Nebraska Music Education Association (NMEA). 

You can watch a highlight of the presentation here.

Rob Salistean - Northwest High School music teacher
Rob Salistean helped open Lincoln Northwest High School as the Performing Arts Department Chair and teaches instrumental music. Prior to his role at Northwest High School, Rob taught at North Star High School and Schoo Middle School. He also serves as the director of the Lincoln Civic Orchestra

Rob was honored with the String Teacher of the Year award by the Nebraska American String Teachers Association (NeASTA). 

You can watch a highlight of the presentation here.

First reading

2023-24 Lincoln Public Schools Budget adoption

The Board held its first reading on the proposed 2023-2024 budget and will vote on it at the Sept. 26 meeting. A public hearing will be held on Monday, Sept. 25, at 6:00 p.m. in the Boardroom at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center.

LPS prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenue. By utilizing cash flow, LPS is able to weather volatile shifts in revenue caused by large reductions in State Equalization Aid a year after the school district may receive a bump in local property assessment values the previous year.

During the 2023-2024 budget process, the Board will consider a 14 cent drop in the total levy to $1.07 per 100 of valuation.

The 2023-2024 preliminary proposed budget is approximately $514 million, representing a 4.8% increase from 2022-2023. Staff salaries and benefits make up almost 90% of the total budget, and negotiated agreements led to a 3.65% increase in the budget. Each month, LPS pays approximately 6,500 employees a total of $30 million each month - money that pumps back into the Lincoln through the purchase of goods, services and property taxes.

More information can be found on our website: lps.org/budget. You can view a highlight of the presentation here.

2023-2024 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 2023-2024 proposed budget. This is part of the annual budget process each year.

The proposed total levy rate drops approximately 14 cents to $1.070022 and includes:

  • General Fund levy at $0.934786
  • Bond Fund levy at $0.118831
  • Qualified Capital Purpose Fund at $0.016405

Elementary boundary change recommendations

The Lincoln Board of Education routinely evaluates current and projected enrollment numbers to maintain optimal school building capacities. After a review of the Kooser and Campbell elementary schools and attendance areas, the Board planning committee has drafted a proposed boundary adjustment to aid in balancing enrollment.

Proposed adjustments include assigning the area from Folkways to I-80 and 14th to 27th street to Campbell Elementary School. Students and their siblings who currently live in the identified area will be allowed to continue attending Kooser Elementary if they so choose. New students residing in the area will be assigned to Campbell Elementary School starting with the 2024-205 school year. 

There were two virtual community meetings held, and you can view the presentation on the proposed changes during those meetings here.

Second reading

Policy 6443 - Parental and Family Engagement

Each year the Board of Education is required to review Policy 6443 and approve the policy. 

All parents and family members of all students are welcomed and encouraged to become involved with their child’s school and education. At the last meeting, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Sarah Salem 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 special meetings are scheduled as necessary through different groups.

The Board voted to reaffirm the policy.

East and Lincoln High choice filing deadline

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.

Lincoln Public Schools continues to allow incoming ninth grade students to 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 and Lincoln High continue to exceed building capacity. The 2023-24 enrollment numbers at each school currently exceeds 2,100. Because of this, staff have determined and recommended that any additional transfer requests made after the Jan. 31, 2024 deadline not be accepted. This continues to follow current high school enrollment procedures, and confirms past years’ practice.

The Board voted to approve the deadline.

Resolution for option enrollment students 2024-25

Nebraska students may attend a school other than the one in the district in which they reside under the option enrollment statutes as long as they meet the statutory and legal conditions, and their application is received by Aug. 2, 2024.

A new state law passed by the Nebraska Legislature requires school districts to adopt option enrollment capacity limits by Oct. 15 for the following school year. The capacity limits for the 2024-25 school year will be published on the LPS website.

The Board voted to approve the resolution and capacity limits.

2403 and 2411 J Street property purchase

The Board is considering entering into a purchase agreement for two properties adjacent to the north side of the Bottler’s Building which also houses the Arts and Humanities Focus Program. The purchase calls for payment of $200,000 plus split real estate commissions, and the payment of any development and closing costs. The Board’s Planning Committee recommends the purchase to the full Board.

The Board voted to approve the purchase.

Informational items and reports

Strategic Planning Committee

Strategic Planning Committee Chair Kathy Danek provided an update on the process. The new strategic plan will represent Lincoln Public School’s commitment to community input and equitable outcomes, align the strategic priorities of the school district with the All Means All action plan, and include themes from the Superintendent’s Transition Report. 

There have already been many voices captured through the process, and there will be many other opportunities for the community to provide input during the second phase of the process. 

“I want to direct our community to our special website which will launch next week with information about how they can participate in providing feedback on the draft strategic plan over the next couple of weeks,” said Danek.

Superintendent Update

In the update by LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman, Gausman highlighted the upcoming Citizens Education Academy that will be kicking off on Wednesday.

He also touched on the strategic plan process and how the community can get involved.

“Next week we will post on our website the preliminary proposed strategic plan based on all of the data and input we’ve gathered so far, and then we will have opportunities for our public to provide feedback through community meetings and a survey,” said Gausman. “I encourage everyone in our community to get involved and share their feedback on the preliminary proposed strategic plan during the month of October.”

Public comment

There were 16 individuals that addressed the Board during public comment. You can watch the public comment as part of 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 special friendship at Northeast High School. You can watch the Glimpses here.

ESU 18 Regular Meeting

ESU 18 met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, immediately following the Board of Education Meeting. You can watch a video of the full meeting here after the Board of Education meeting.

2023-24 Educational Service Unit 18 budget adoption and property tax request

The ESU 18 Board held its first reading on the proposed 2023-2024 budget and will vote on it at the Sept. 26 meeting. A public hearing will be held on Monday, Sept. 25, in the Boardroom at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center.


Published: September 12, 2023, Updated: September 12, 2023