Lincoln Board of Education highlights: November 27

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, November 27, in the City County Building.  The meetings are broadcast live on public access cable channel 5.  There will be one regular Board meeting in December: 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 11.

Lincoln Board of Education highlights: November 27 

Annual Financial Audit

The Lincoln Board of Education heard a presentation on the annual 2011-12 independent financial audit of the school district.

“We use this process as a learning tool,” said Mark Shepard, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS, “and it also sets us up well for the future.” 

The school district received what is called “an unqualified opinion” on its external audit report again this year – an opinion that helps LPS in maintaining its high bond ratings and continues to keep the district’s bond interest rates low.  The audit is a rigorous, organization-wide audit to provide assurance to the federal government as to the management and use of federal funds. 

School Board member Kathy Danek noted that “year in and year out we continue to have audit reports that talk about the health of our financial system…Our staff members in Business Affairs are doing things very well.”

Amplification systems

The Board of Education considered submission of a second grant application that would provide money for Hear to Learn – this grant to the Cooper Foundation.  Hear to Learn is a parent-initiated, teacher-supported pilot program that eventually would install 100 classroom amplification systems in four LPS elementary schools.

The portable amplification systems consist of one microphone for the teacher and another placed elsewhere in the room. These systems project sound evenly across classrooms, responding to several potential issues associated with classroom noise and children’s often fluctuating ability to hear: inadequate signal-to-noise ratios (where instruction is drowned out by background noise), behavioral concerns (where distracted students act out) and decreased academic achievement.

The amplification project has multiple funding sources.

Superintendent update   

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel reported on a trip he took earlier this week – along with community and school district representatives – visiting a noted career education program in Phoenix.

“We were very impressed,” Joel said. “Students really took pride in their schools… earning early college credits and considering potential careers.”

LPS is currently investigating the possibility of developing a high school career educational program in Lincoln.

“This trip was very impressive, very encouraging, very energizing,” said School Board member Kevin Keller, who also went on the visit.  “These students are excited and turned on to what they were doing. When I asked them – ‘Why are you coming here instead of your home school – every single student said, ‘I’m here because I choose to be here, and I know the students around me choose to be here as well.’  I believe that makes a big difference in the way these students were approaching their educational experience.

“These are young people who have a vision, and a hope, and they could see the opportunity that was before them…We need this in Lincoln.  There is no doubt in my mind that this would help us reach students who may not be sure what their career path might be.”

Meanwhile, Joel noted:

* The first Connect LPS program – a live-streaming Q&A program featuring the superintendent – has been moved to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. People can e-mail or Tweet questions ahead of time – through email,, or Twitter using the hashtag #ConnectLPS – or go to this website on the evening of the show and submit questions live:

School Board citations  

The Board of Education thanked the many individuals and organizations that have generously donated American flags for classrooms at Lincoln Public Schools – and officially recognized three community organizations that went above and beyond:

  • Nebraska’s Disabled American Veterans
  • The Grand Lodge at the Preserve
  • The Northeast Sertoma Club

In presenting certificates of appreciation to the three organizations, Board member Katie McLeese Stephenson said: “The donation of an American flag not only brings a sense of patriotism and unity to our school district, and to our community – these flags also represent our culture, our history and the countless citizens who dedicated their lives to the promise of freedom.”

This fall the school district needed more than 600 additional American flags – due to changes approved by the Nebraska Board of Education that govern the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools.

A special page on the LPS website thanks and lists all those who donated – and this Saturday an advertisement will run in the Lincoln Journal Star, thanking donors once again.

Published: November 27, 2012, Updated: November 27, 2012