Highlights of the May 28, 2024 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, My 28, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. 

Special reports, presentations and celebrations of success

Project Extra Mile Walk update

The LPS Business Affairs team gave an update on the amount raised during the Project Extra Mile Walk. They were joined by Lincoln Food Bank President and CEO Michaella Kumke.

This year, over $136,000 was raised during the campaign. Top fundraisers in LPS included:

  • Top elementary school: Maxey Elementary, $11,488.66
  • Top middle school: Culler Middle School, $2,804.00
  • Top high school: Standing Bear High School, $873.69
  • Top LPS department: LPS Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment $3,567.75

Lincoln Public Schools has raised nearly $2.4 million dollars for the program over 17 years.

First reading

10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan update

Staff brought forward a recommendation to revise the 10-Year Facility and Infrastructure Plan to include a new facility at the Yankee Hill site. The project was previously in the Tier II Priority list of the plan. LPS staff have identified the need for additional space for student support programming.  

The LPS Board of Education initiated a 10-year facility planning process in 2005 to serve as a guideline for district facility and infrastructure needs.  The LPS 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan has been subject to annual reviews, approvals, and changes over the years as circumstances and conditions have demanded.  

The current 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan was approved by the Board of Education on Dec. 10, 2019. The numerous needs identified in the plan were the result of input from community-based groups including the High School Taskforce and a Superintendent’s Facilities Advisory Committee.  On Feb. 11, 2020, 62-percent of Lincoln voters cast their ballots in favor of the bond issue which funded Tier I Priorities. LPS has a 20-year history of completing projects in line with community expectations and successfully prioritizing a few projects from Tier 2 Priorities within the bond amount authorized by the voters. All of the financing is in place and the vast majority of Tier I Projects are complete.  Approximately $25 million is available for Tier II Priorities.

LPS needs a facility to better serve the Yankee Hill Education Center, the Student Support Program, and the Transition Program for students in grades 9-12.  The district owns in excess of 24 acres on the site. The proposal is to design and construct a new facility and repurpose the existing facility for other district educational programs.  The new facility will serve all three programs.

  • The Yankee Hill Education Center is a high school behavioral skills program that serves students who have been identified as needing a period of time in a safe, supportive, therapeutic environment that focuses on building prosocial skills along with academics. Program staff are trained in a behavior program model to create a structured, safe, and predictable school environment for students.
  • High School Student Support Program is part of the Student Services Department providing students in high school the opportunity to continue their academic progress and earn credit during times of transition, long-term suspensions, or expulsions in a smaller, more structured environment. (Currently located at the Nuernberger Education Center.)
  • High School Transition Program is an opportunity for students in grades 9-12 to continue their academic progress within Lincoln Public Schools. Students work on graduation requirements through eLearning in a smaller, more structured environment within a larger, comprehensive high school. The program can serve up to 40 high school students. (Currently located at Nuernberger Education Center and Northeast High School.)

The new High School Student Support Center facility at the Yankee Hill site will be approximately 47,000 square feet and the current cost estimate is $24 million. The tentative project schedule is for design to begin in the  Fall of 2024, and ground-breaking sometime during the  Summer  of 2025 A soft opening is planned around January of 2027.

The current Yankee Hill facility will be utilized for the Individual Success Program, a comprehensive Special Education program for students with developmental disabilities from kindergarten through age 21. The mission of the ISP is to improve school performance, behavior, mental health, and social wellbeing for students with significant needs through specialized education, support, and inclusive advocacy.  The Individual Success Program currently located at Cavett, Robinson, Lux, Lincoln East, and Lincoln Northwest will relocate to the existing Yankee Hill facility.

Upon the completion of the High School Support Center at the Yankee Hill Site, the Nuernberger Education Center will be fully dedicated to serving middle school students and the Don Sherrill Education Center will continue to serve elementary students.
The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next regular meeting.

MAP Growth Testing contract

MAP Growth is a nationally-normed test that measures both student achievement and growth in reading and math. There is close alignment between fall and winter MAP results and the spring Nebraska Department of Education’s Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) tests that measure Nebraska English Language Arts and Math state standards. The MAP Growth results are used in LPS to monitor student achievement and growth, as part of placement and intervention decisions for students, evaluate district curricula and programs and to report to parents.

Staff recommended the Board approve a three-year agreement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a total of $629,348 to provide the MAP Growth assessment.

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

Second reading

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 areas of:

  • Saltillo Express Business Park to Adams Elementary School, Scott Middle School, and Southwest High School.
  • Jamaica North Business Park to  Adams Elementary School, Scott Middle School, and Southwest High School.
  • North 70th Street and Interstate 80 to Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School, and Northeast High School.

The Board voted to approve the assignments.

U.S. Department of Justice federal grants

LPS staff proposed writing three competitive applications for grants to the U.S. Department of Justice. The grants would assist with funding multiple prevention and intervention measures to improve school safety to include:

  • Support training on and implementation of evidence-based programming that promotes positive behavior.
  • Upgrade keys and badges for greater building security.
  • Support new positions including a school social worker, school counselor, and community partnerships with the Tipping Point program at the Lincoln Police Department and community-based mental health organizations.

The Board voted to approve the grant applications.

School bus purchases

Proposals were requested from interested vendors to purchase six wheelchair school buses and six 84-passenger buses all with three-point safety belts for use by the Transportation Department.

Staff recommend approving the lowest bids from Cornhusker International Trucks out of Lincoln for $861,200, and Nebraska Central Equipment out of Alda, Nebraska for $1,286,048.

The Board voted to approve the purchases.

Informational items and reports

Superintendent update

LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman provided an update to the Board highlighting student accomplishments.

Gausman thanked the Board for their assistance in celebrating over 2,800 graduates who received their diploma during seven ceremonies at Pinnacle Bank Arena over the past weekend. The ceremonies can be viewed on LPS.org.

In addition, Gausman congratulated the student-athletes who represented Lincoln Public Schools at state contests this spring. 

Southwest Girls soccer and Lincoln East Girls tennis teams both brought home championship trophies. In addition, East tennis had the singles state champion and both doubles state champions. Southwest had three medal winners, and North Star had two.

Southwest High School boys soccer team and East High School’s baseball team both received the runner-up trophy. 

In boys golf, Southeast brought home the runner-up trophy and three individual medals. North Star had one medal winner, and Lincoln East had one medal winner.

In track, East had 12 medal winners; Lincoln High had three; North Star had nine; Northeast had two; Northwest had one; Southeast had three; and Southwest had 18 with Buddy Otto bringing home the gold in 300 meter hurdles.

Public comment

There were no individuals that addressed the Board during public comment.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights Lincoln Public Schools. Tuesday’s Glimpses featured sights and sounds from the annual fifth grade field trip to the Saltdogs game. 

Published: May 28, 2024, Updated: May 28, 2024