EdNotes Express

Lincoln Public Schools Communication Services continues to look for the most effective way to provide you with information.  EdNotes is written and published specifically for the faculty and staff of Lincoln Public Schools.

If you have information you would like to include, please email Mindy Burbach at mburbach@lps.org.

LPS announces Robinson Elementary principal < Updated

Lincoln Public Schools announced on Friday that Jeff Vercellino, current Cavett Elementary School principal, will serve as the first principal of the new Ada Robinson Elementary School located in northeast Lincoln. Opening in the fall of 2022, the school was named for the long-time LPS educator known for building relationships and serving multiple generations of students.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel said he is excited for Vercellino and the opportunity to open the newest LPS elementary school in northeast Lincoln.

“Like Robinson who prides herself on building lasting relationships with her students, Jeff is a proven instructional leader who values nurturing meaningful relationships with staff, students and families,” added Joel. “Robinson Elementary students will benefit from his passion to see each and every student grow and succeed.”

“I am elated to have the opportunity to serve as the first principal of Ada Robinson Elementary,” Vercellino said. “Mrs. Robinson is an inspirational educator. One who genuinely cared for, respected, and connected with all students she came into contact with.  I look forward to collaborating with Mrs. Robinson and her family as we carry on her legacy in northeast Lincoln.”

Vercellino has been the principal at Cavett for the last 10 years. He served as Hartley Elementary School’s principal from 2007-2012 after being the assistant principal at Cavett from 2003-2007. Vercellino was a coordinator at Lakeview Elementary School from 2001-2003 and taught there from 1995 until 2001.

Vercellino will transition to his new position in January. LPS will appoint an interim principal to the position to finish out the school year. 

Posted on October 22, 2021


Meeting notices for the Lincoln Board of Education - Oct. 26, 2021 < New

Special Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for a Special Work Session at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

The purpose of the Special Work Session is for the Board to review proposals for superintendent search firms.

You can watch the Board Special Work Session via livestream in two ways:

Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold its Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 6:00 p.m. located in the boardroom at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. Following the current Directed Health Measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, face coverings over the mouth and nose will be REQUIRED inside for all who attend the meeting in person.

The agendas for the meeting can be found here: lps.org/board.

There are multiple ways to view the livestream of the regular meeting:

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by citizens in the Regular Board Meeting

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District, and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms. 

Following the current Directed Health Measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, face coverings over the mouth and nose will be REQUIRED inside for all who attend the meeting in person.

In keeping with Board Policy:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose.
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose. Those speaking must provide their first and last name, address of residence, and what organization if they are representing one on the card prior to addressing the Board.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media or displays.

Please note: Due to the number of anticipated speakers, the Board will hear up to one hour of public comment (agenda item number seven), followed by the business meeting and then the second public comment session (agenda item number 15). If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on October 22, 2021


Highlights of 10/12 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success

Staff Recognition

The Board regularly honors staff members who have been honored with state or national awards. At Tuesday’s meeting the Board presented a formal resolution to Pound Middle School art teacher Shelby Rix, who was recently named the Nebraska Middle School Art Educator of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association.

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van presented the organization’s annual report to the Board. Among the highlights:

  • The Foundation raised $3,925,234 for LPS students and teachers in 2020-21.
  • Van said the Foundation has spent a lot of time listening to LPS, community partners and donors. “This is really about our community saying, ‘All really does mean all.’”
  • The Foundation has worked in partnership with the Lancaster County Corrections Department on a driver’s education fund. This fund helps pay for driver’s education for students in poverty.
  • The Foundation continues to help fund Bubba’s Closet, which provides winter clothing to LPS elementary students in need. The goal is to provide roughly 900 winter coats to students this year.
  • An LPS student has received the first award from the Stu Elliott Student Assistance Fund, which offers support to financially challenged students. Elliott graduated from Lincoln Southeast High School in 1967 and prior to that attended Lefler Middle School and Calvert Elementary School. The fund helps bridge the opportunity gap that prevents some students from reaching their full potential.
  • Arnold Elementary School recently broke ground on a new walking path and playground. The Foundation has worked with the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln and the Arnold PTO to raise nearly $171,000 for the project. Similar projects are underway at Riley Elementary School and Mickle Middle School.

ESSER II Funding Report

Director of Federal Programs Linda Hix presented on how LPS utilized the second round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds toward learning acceleration in summer 2021. The total federal dollars spent were $5,530,475. Hix offered the following breakdown of those expenditures for learning acceleration:

K-8 summer school:

  • Elementary student attendance - 2,098
  • Middle school student attendance - 699
  • 571 teachers
  • Expenditures: $1,254,600

Jump Start for incoming kindergarten and first-grade students:

  • 288 teachers
  • Expenditures: $147,000

High school summer school:

  • 41 teachers
  • Expenditures beyond regular summer school costs: $277,000

Graduation Pathways:

  • One additional teacher worked with students and three teachers worked on curriculum development for new courses for the 2021-22 school year. (Learn more about this program here.)
  • Expenditures: $7,800

Special Education:

  • Additional special education teacher support was provided during summer school and throughout the remainder of the summer as needed by individual students and small groups. 
  • Expenditures: $100,300

Mental health:

  • LPS contracted additional hours with community mental health providers to be available to students both in-person and through tele-health, resulting in 79 students benefiting from this support.
  • Expenditures: $36,300

Additional teacher plan time:

  • 695 teachers participated during the summer
  • Expenditures: $146,350

Additional teacher professional development:

  • 2,000 certified staff members participated with an average of eight hours per staff member.
  • Expenditures: $503,000

Bilingual liaisons:

  • 2,000 certified staff members participated with an average of eight hours per staff member.
  • Expenditures: $503,000

Summer curriculum work:

  • The Curriculum and Instruction Department purchased resources and developed curriculum for the summer of 2021, the 2021-22 school year. Additional funds will be spent during the school year.
  • Expenditures: $451,525

Remote Learning Program:

  • Summer salaries for staff were covered. Technology and supplies were purchased to prepare for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Expenditures: $234,900

Early Childhood:

  • Five teachers
  • Expenditures: $12,100

Technology:

  • Chromebooks were purchased for kindergarten and first-grade use during the 2021-22 school year.
  • Expenditures: $2,082,800

Read 180:

  • Subscriptions for reading intervention were purchased for summer and school year use.
  • Expenditures: $273,700

Hix said the committee and the LPS Assessment and Evaluation Department are continuing to study the success of these programs and will consider which programs to continue in the future.

2021 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures

LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish offered an update on transportation challenges. The transportation team reconfigures routes every day to have drivers pick up extra routes due to a shortage of bus drivers. The shortage is not only happening at Lincoln Public Schools, but also in school districts across the state and nation. Transportation staff make adjustments each day while working to limit the impact on families. 

There have been questions from the community about a change in staffing practices. Standish reports the changes that were made allow the transportation department to operate more efficiently and offer benefits and full-time pay for drivers. There were a number of part-time drivers that stepped up to fill the full-time positions, and LPS is grateful to those drivers. Adjusting schedules back to the previous practice would result in less drivers for the school district to utilize, as those current drivers would move to part time, which would cover fewer routes in the afternoon. Standish thanked the families for their patience and understanding as we continue to work through the driver shortage.

Superintendent Steve Joel updated the Board on the Oct. 1 enrollment snapshot, which included a growth of more than 200 students at LPS. 

Board Leadership Committee Chair Don Mayhew updated the Board about discussions on adjusting Board Operating procedures. The committee decided to table the topic until May and follow the reorganization process already in place.

Board member Bob Rauner also updated the Board on current COVID-19 information in Lincoln-Lancaster County.

First Reading

Legislative guidelines

Each year, various federal, state and local governmental bodies will consider legislative and administrative actions that will have an impact on Lincoln Public Schools. In order to communicate the positions of the Lincoln Board of Education, the Board approves legislative guidelines that provide guidance to district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies. These guidelines can be viewed here.

The Board will vote on the guidelines at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Policy 6443 - Parental and Family Engagement

At the Board’s last meeting it conducted a hearing to receive input regarding proposed Policy 6443, which can be viewed here. This policy is related to the Nebraska Parental Involvement Act and other Nebraska and federal laws. No citizens addressed the Board during the hearing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board voted to approve the revised policy.

Woods Charitable Trust Grant Application

LPS is proposing to apply for a grant from the Lincoln-based Woods Charitable Fund that would support partnerships in the community for the Two Generation Family Literacy Program. The grant application request will be for up to $75,000 per year for three years, with no match requirement. This grant would allow the program to support new and existing partnerships with organizations in Lincoln that offer education and enrichment to participating families.

Family Literacy is a family-centered approach to education that brings children and families together to learn. Participating parents attend their child’s school Monday through Friday, two hours per day. Parents identify educational and career goals, engage in learning English with other parents, and spend time together with their children connecting curricular objectives with family learning activities.

The Board voted to approve the application. It’s due Oct. 31, 2021.

Public Comment

There were 11 citizens that addressed the Board during the first public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our school district. Tuesday’s video featured MOSAIC, the LPS Library Services Department’s annual celebration of the growth in high-quality literature featuring underrepresented cultures.

Posted on October 12, 2021


Meeting notice for the Lincoln Board of Education - Oct. 12, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold its regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 6:00 p.m. located in the boardroom at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. Following the current Directed Health Measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, face coverings over the mouth and nose will be REQUIRED inside for all who attend the meeting in person.

The agendas for the meeting can be found here: lps.org/board.

There are multiple ways to view the livestream of the meeting:

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District, and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms. 

Following the current Directed Health Measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, face coverings over the mouth and nose will be REQUIRED inside for all who attend the meeting in person.

In keeping with Board Policy:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose. Those speaking must provide their first and last name, address of residence, and what organization if they are representing one on the card prior to addressing the Board.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media or displays.

Please note: Due to the number of anticipated speakers, the Board will hear up to one hour of public comment (agenda item number seven), followed by the business meeting and then the second public comment session (agenda item number 15). If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on October 08, 2021


MOSAIC celebration highlights diverse children’s literature

For more than 25 years, the Lincoln Public Schools Library Services Department has been a national leader in identifying and providing access to the best new children's literature that represents diverse characters, themes and perspectives. 

MOSAIC is Library Services’ annual celebration of the growth in high-quality literature featuring underrepresented cultures. It provides awareness and access for teachers, students and families to the newest and best titles published in the previous year.   

“Diverse literature serves all of our students and families by providing insight into the lives of others and affirmation of the rich cultures that make up our LPS community,” said LPS Director of Library Services Chris Haeffner.

The community is welcome to visit the display of more than 300 titles at the LPS District Office’s main lobby through Oct. 22. You also can view the entire collection, check out the ebooks and audiobooks, read the professional reviews, and view supplemental materials online at the PS Library Services MOSAIC website.

Posted on October 06, 2021


Community Awareness Series: Promoting Healthy Behaviors - The Impact of Marijuana Use on Our Youth

Our youth are our future’s greatest asset. Schools, parents, caregivers and communities all play a role in providing supportive pathways for our youth as they navigate childhood and adolescence. Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with School Community Intervention and Prevention (SCIP) and Region V Systems to put on valuable presentations about how to support the health and well-being of our community’s youth.

Please join us for our first event:

“But It’s Just Marijuana Isn’t It?”: The Impact of Marijuana Use on Our Youth
October 21, 2021 from
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Schoo Middle School (Media Center) - 700 Penrose Dr., Lincoln

Research shows that families and influential adults play the most important role in preventing youth substance use. Marijuana continues to be one of the most prevalent substances of abuse amongst our youth. Perception data tells us that the number of young people who believe marijuana use is risky is decreasing. With the legalization of marijuana in most states, our youth have received mixed messages from society that has led to misconceptions over the harm that marijuana has on developing adolescents. Officer Andre O’Conner, a Licensed Drug Recognition Expert with the Lincoln Police Department and previous School Resource Officer, will discuss the following:

  • Marijuana and the various effects it has on adolescents
  • How marijuana has evolved over the years
  • The signs and symptoms of marijuana use
  • The difference between a nicotine vape pen and a marijuana concentrate pen
  • Street drug names and emojis used to communicate about marijuana use and distribution
  • Various stash compartments used to hide marijuana and/or paraphernalia

Please contact Abbe Edgecombe, SCIP Coordinator for Lincoln-Lancaster County, for questions or additional information at 402-327-6841 or aedgecombe@lmep.com.

Posted on October 04, 2021



Highlights of 9/28 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU 18 Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Public Hearing on Policy 6443 - Parental and Family Engagement

This hearing was conducted under the provisions of the Nebraska Parental Involvement Act and other Nebraska and federal laws. The purpose of this hearing was to receive input regarding proposed Policy 6443, which can be viewed here. Any input received in this hearing will be taken into consideration by the Board when it takes action on proposed Policy 6443.

After the hearing, the Board must either alter and adopt the revised policy or reaffirm it as written. No citizens addressed the Board during the hearing held at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting. The Board will vote on the policy at its next meeting.

2021 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures

Superintendent Steve Joel updated the Board on the latest pandemic plan and procedures. He joined the Mayor’s press conference today, where it was announced the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department extended the mask mandate until Oct. 28. We want to keep students in our schools. Students need in-person learning. The mandate helps us do that. He hoped that this is not permanent, but it is necessary at this time.

Also, LPS has developed an additional COVID-19 paid leave plan through federal ESSER funding to assist staff who are required to be excluded from work due to COVID-19. Federal COVID-19 compensation ended in December 2020, and LPS was able to fund the remainder of last school year through ESSER funding. Due to the ongoing pandemic, starting Oct. 1, LPS will offer the following leave to LPS staff where applicable.

Don Mayhew serves as Chair of the Board Leadership Committee, which also includes Bob Rauner and Barb Baier. He asked Rauner to provide an update to the rest of the Board about what the community is seeing as far as numbers of COVID cases.

Joel also spoke to the Board about his recent announcement to retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year. He thanked the Board for its work and dedication to the students of Lincoln, as well as all of his team and the staff at Lincoln Public Schools for helping make LPS a respected and well-known school district nationally. 

The Board voted to accept his retirement as part of the consent agenda. Next steps will include selecting a superintendent search firm, and setting the timeline for applications and interviews - a process that can take five to eight months.

First Reading

Student and Staff Calendar

LPS staff have continued to teach this year under pandemic protocols, provided additional support to students who returned to in-person learning, have provided services to a large number of excluded students, and taken on additional duties such as class covers due to limited availability of substitutes in a tight labor market. In addition, our support staff continues to go above and beyond by taking on additional hours and work. The Board recognizes the added demands on staff and the stress on families and wants to enhance the ability of staff to meet these ongoing challenges.

Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson and Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Eric Weber spoke about how teachers are giving up their plan time regularly to cover classes when there are teachers who are absent. This year LPS has the same number of substitute teachers as previous years, however on average there are 32% of those substitute job requests going unfilled. This extra autonomous remote planning day will allow teachers the time to prepare for the beginning of the second quarter.

Student Learning Board Committee Chair Lanny Boswell said, “I think our teachers are working incredibly hard right now, as are our administrators, other staff members and students. This is an opportunity that we have to help teachers have enough time to plan for the second quarter so that their instruction is as effective as it can be, and I think it is something that we should do as a Board.”

The Board waived second reading and approved adjusting the school calendar to include an additional non-student day on Oct. 19 (extending Fall Break).

Here is the new student calendar that indicates Fall Break is now Oct. 16-19. Oct. 15 remains an elementary plan day with no school for students in grades PreK-5.

Woods Charitable Trust Grant Application

LPS is proposing to apply for a grant from the Lincoln-based Woods Charitable Fund that would support partnerships in the community for the Two Generation Family Literacy Program. The grant application request will be for up to $75,000 per year for three years, with no match requirement. This grant would allow the program to support new and existing partnerships with organizations in Lincoln that offer education and enrichment to participating families.

Family Literacy is a family-centered approach to education that brings children and families together to learn. Participating parents attend their child’s school Monday through Friday, two hours per day. Parents identify educational and career goals, engage in learning English with other parents, and spend time together with their children connecting curricular objectives with family learning activities.

The application is due Oct. 31, 2021. The Board will vote on the application at its next meeting.

Second Reading

LPS Property Tax Request

The Board voted to approve the official property tax request to fund the 2021-22 budget. This is the last, necessary step in officially finalizing the 2021-22 budget and is a routine step in the process.

Newly Annexed Properties to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed multiple parcels of land, which automatically brings these properties into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. These properties need to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in these areas will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcels of land and their proposed attendance areas are:

  • Fire Ridge, Annexation Ordinance #21096, for 2021-22 school year. Its assigned schools are Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School.
  • Grandview Estates 2nd Addition, Annexation Ordinance #21101, for 2021-22 school year. Its assigned schools are Wysong Elementary School, Moore Middle School and East High School.

The Board voted to approve the proposed assigned schools.

Public Comment

There were 7 citizens that addressed the Board during the public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the LPS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program. 

ESU 18 Regular Meeting

ESU 18 Property Tax Request

The ESU Board voted to approve the official property tax request to fund its 2021-2022 budget. This is the last, necessary step in officially finalizing the 2021-22 ESU 18 budget and is a routine step in the process.

Posted on September 29, 2021


LPS Superintendent Joel announces retirement plans

During the Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting Tuesday night, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel will announce his plans to retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Joel said this is a decision he does not take lightly. “Being able to finish my 37-year career as a superintendent in Lincoln is a dream come true,” Joel said. “Not only is LPS nationally recognized for its work, but also offers a supportive school board and Lincoln community that have proven time and again they are willing to roll up their sleeves and support our staff, students and families.”

Joel went on to say that while the pandemic has created new challenges, he feels the school district continues to make great progress and announcing his plans now allows the school board time to open a national comprehensive search and recruit a quality candidate.

“LPS is widely respected and thought of in national administration circles and I have no doubt there will be quality candidates showing interest in the position.”

The Board of Education will vote on accepting Joel’s retirement as part of the consent agenda Tuesday night. Next steps will include selecting a superintendent search firm, and setting the timeline for applications and interviews - a process that can take five to eight months.

“Over the past eleven years, Dr. Joel has demonstrated his expertise and passion for public education and put it to work for all children in Lincoln Public Schools,” said Board President Connie Duncan. “Under his leadership, our school district overcame challenges big and small while continuing to build stronger relationships with our staff, families and community partners.”

Joel joined LPS in 2010 after serving as the superintendent for Grand Island Public Schools for 10 years. Joel’s first challenge at LPS came within his first year when a tragic fire resulted in a complete loss of the LPS District Office in 2011. During his time as superintendent, he has focused on comprehensive solutions to significant school and community issues. LPS has faced booming enrollment, adding approximately 5,700 students in the last 10 years, and passed two bond referendums to build new schools and renovate existing buildings while increasing school security measures and the technology infrastructure.

Through Joel’s leadership, LPS has also adopted a comprehensive instructional technology plan and developed The Career Academy, along with announcing the addition of three new focus programs opening in the next two years.

Joel has been honored with a wide variety of awards and distinctions, including Nebraska Superintendent of the Year and Leadership Excellence by the Educational Resource Development Institute. He also has been active in many community clubs and coalitions and serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln Community Foundation, The Career Academy and the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County Board.

Posted on September 27, 2021


Meeting notices for the Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 - September 28, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 will hold regular meetings on Tuesday, September 28, at 6:00 p.m. located in the boardroom at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. Following the current Directed Health Measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, face coverings over the mouth and nose will be REQUIRED inside for all who attend the meeting in person.

The agendas for both meetings can be found here: lps.org/board.

There are multiple ways to view the livestream of the meeting:

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District, and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms. 

Following the current Directed Health Measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, face coverings over the mouth and nose will be REQUIRED inside for all who attend the meeting in person.

In keeping with Board Policy:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose. Those speaking must provide their first and last name, address of residence, and what organization if they are representing one on the card prior to addressing the Board.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media or displays.

Please note: Due to the number of anticipated speakers, the Board will hear up to one hour of public comment (agenda item number eight), followed by the business meeting and then the second public comment session (agenda item number 16). If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on September 24, 2021


Highlights of 9/14 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU 18 Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Reports, Presentations and Celebrations of Success

Staff Recognition

The Board regularly honors staff members who have been honored with state or national awards. At Tuesday’s meeting the Board presented a formal resolution to Lincoln Southwest High School Spanish teacher James Hill, who recently was awarded the 2021 Christa McAuliffe Prize for Courage and Excellence in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Education and Human Sciences.

American Civics Curriculum Report

Jaci Kellison, LPS K-12 social studies curriculum specialist, offered an overview of the school district’s civics curriculum, as required by state statute 79-724. This statue includes the following:

  • It is the responsibility of society to ensure that youth are given the opportunity to become competent, responsible, patriotic, and civil citizens to ensure a strong, stable, just and prosperous America.
  • Schools should help prepare our youth to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good.
  • A central role of schools is to impart civic knowledge and skills that help our youth to see the relevance of a civic dimension for their lives.

Kellison started off by emphasizing that the academic framework of Critical Race Theory does not appear in any LPS social studies standards and objectives. Rather, she explained the LPS approach in its curriculum:

  • Students analyze issues with open minds, investigate and consider various positions, weigh alternative viewpoints, organize and present arguments and draw intelligent conclusions.
  • Students engage with multiple perspectives to dispel the notion of a “single story” of American history.
  • Historically marginalized voices are given agency and not presented as stories of victimhood or unrelenting tragedies.

Kellison went on to note that “considering multiple perspectives” is the frame used for LPS social studies in order to dispel the notion of a single story. Also, LPS emphasizes perspectives as individual and not group perspectives into overgeneralized and broad categories.

Finally, Kellison also touched upon other key areas in the social studies curriculum: the ongoing emphasis on media literacy, civil discourse and the overarching goal of teaching students to be informed, active and engaged citizens, which includes the importance of voting.

2021 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures

Superintendent Steve Joel gave an update on the school district’s pandemic plan and procedures. 

Joel feels good where we are as a district as LPS has not experienced any surges and he adds that parents, students and staff are doing an amazing job of reducing the risk of spread. There are still a number of exclusions for students. LPS is in the process of securing 24 K-5 teacher volunteers who will be paid a stipend to produce recorded video lessons in math and reading that will assist students and parents when students have to learn at home for an extended time due to school exclusions. Joel thanked the Lincoln Education Association for their conversation on the project.

Board Leadership Committee Chair Don Mayhew updated the Board on staff answering Board member questions in regards to the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan. The committee also previewed the latest federal mandates announced and asked staff to report back. The committee is also reviewing public comment policies and reviewing what other public entities in Lincoln and across Nebraska do.

First Reading

LPS Property Tax Request

The Board held a first reading of the official property tax request to fund the 2021-22 budget. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next meeting. This will be the last, necessary step in officially finalizing the 2021-22 budget and is a routine step in the process.

A public hearing on the official property tax request was held at the beginning of the meeting. No citizens spoke at the hearing.

The Board will vote on the request at its next meeting.

Newly Annexed Properties to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed multiple parcels of land, which automatically brings these properties into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. These properties need to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in these areas will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcels of land and their proposed attendance areas are:

  • Fire Ridge, Annexation Ordinance #21096, for 2021-22 school year. Its assigned schools are Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School.
  • Grandview Estates 2nd Addition, Annexation Ordinance #21101, for 2021-22 school year. Its assigned schools are Wysong Elementary School, Moore Middle School and East High School. 

The Board will vote on the proposed assigned schools at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Proposed Attendance Area Assignments

The opening of three new schools gives the Lincoln Board of Education the unique opportunity to review projected city growth and adjust current school attendance boundaries to fully and efficiently utilize existing and future building space.

The Board Planning Committee has met with staff and the community to gather information, look at data and draft a proposal for attendance boundary changes. You can view all of the changes on this special LPS webpage

Any students impacted by the changes in 2022-23 or 2023-24 would be able to remain in their current attendance center based on Board Policy 5122, which in part states: “Students in attendance at a specific school may be permitted to complete their education at that attendance center if the boundary is changed, placing the family in another attendance center.” In addition, eighth-graders living within the LPS boundaries will still be able to choose any high school to attend their freshman year by Jan. 31 of the previous year. If a high school is not requested by the first day of school, the student will attend their attendance area school.

The Board voted to approve the attendance area assignments for 2022-23 and 2023-24. You can find the approved attendance area changes on our special webpage here.

Proposed 2021-22 budget

The Board voted to approve the proposed 2021-22 budget.

LPS is again making reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS approved budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

You can learn more about the 2021-22 budget here.

Public Comment

There were six citizens that addressed the Board during the public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.


Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured a social studies classroom at Park Middle School and how teacher Matthew Bliemeister taught his students about 9/11 through a special Patriot Day service project for local healthcare workers. 


ESU 18 Regular Meeting

ESU 18 Property Tax Request

The ESU Board held a first reading of the official property tax request to fund its 2021-2022 budget. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next meeting. This will be the last, necessary step in officially finalizing the 2021-22 ESU 18 budget and is a routine step in the process.

A public hearing on the official property tax request was held at the beginning of the meeting. No citizens spoke at the hearing.

2021-22 Educational Service Unit 18 Budget Adoption

The ESU Board voted to approve the proposed 2021-22 budget.

At the last ESU 18 Board meeting, Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented the proposed 2021-22 budget. You can watch the full presentation here.

 

Posted on September 14, 2021


Superintendent Blog: The challenges of change

Posted on September 08, 2021


Instructional best practices for students in exclusion

Teachers:

Because we eliminated hybrid instruction this year and there is no Zoom-in option for quarantined students, it is necessary to ensure the following practices are in place to support students (and parents) who are excluded:

  • Make sure your Class Information in Synergy is up-to-date so students and parents can find relevant course information. This might include course materials, the syllabus, assignments, assessment information, and the grading policy.
  • Secondary teachers, please grade assignments and enter grades into Synergy as soon as possible so students and parents can track student progress in real time and identify missing work.
  • If it is not already your current practice, please check student and parent email daily and promptly respond to inquiries as soon as possible, particularly for students who are excluded.
  • Providing assignments and materials and checking on students by calling home, email or using Google Classroom, can both help smooth the transition when the student returns to class and also help students feel less isolated while at home.

We appreciate all the work you are doing to support students and families during the ongoing pandemic.  

Matt Larson
Associate Superintendent for Instruction

Posted on September 03, 2021


Highlights of 8/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU 18 Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Presentations and Reports

2021-22 Board of Education and Superintendent’s Annual Goals and Priorities - Presentation of Measurables

LPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson and Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Eric Weber shared with the Board the draft measurables in relation to one of the Board goals, whose four general areas of focus are graduation rate, suspension rate, enrollment in honors courses and diversity of certified staff.

The graduation rate has continued to decrease since 2016. The goal is by the graduating class of 2024, to raise the “All Students” graduation rate to 87% and reduce each existing (2019) differential from “All Students” by 50%.

The suspension rates have generally gone down. The target is that by spring 2024 to reduce total suspensions for all students by 20% and reduce disproportionality ratios to 1.2 or less.

The honors course enrollment has been trending down for all groups except Asian students. By spring 2024, the goal is to reduce disproportionality from “2020-2021 All Students” who have completed at least one honors class by 75%.

The percent of certificated staff by racial/ethnic group. The goal is by the spring of 2024 to increase the percent of non-white certificated staff by 25%, which would bring the target goal to 8.1%.

2021 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures

Superintendent Steve Joel gave an update on the school district’s pandemic plan moving forward, particularly in light of the City of Lincoln’s new Directed Health Measure on Tuesday that requires face coverings for everyone inside all businesses and buildings in Lincoln and Lancaster County. Superintendent Joel expressed his support for that measure and the resulting LPS decision to also now require face coverings.

Here are some highlights from Superintendent Joel’s remarks:

  • We are greatly concerned about the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases we are seeing not only in Lincoln, but among our students and staff.
  • Out of the 788 positive cases reported by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department last week, 110 of those were LPS students, or 14 percent of the county’s positive cases. For comparison, during the peak of the spread in December 2020, out of the 2,100 cases in Lancaster County, 110 were LPS students or five percent of the county’s positive cases.
  • First and foremost we must put protocols in place that protect the health of our students and staff. Last year, face coverings reduced the risk of spread.
  • Last week we had 723 students excluded from school. Without the hybrid learning option for students who are excluded, our students are missing out on valuable instruction and stability.
  • We’ve said from the beginning of the pandemic: Students need in-person learning. Families need the stability of in-person school.
  • By requiring face coverings for all students and staff, we will not only reduce the risk of spread, but reduce the number of students who have to quarantine and miss school.
  • This requirement also helps with our staffing. When staff are sick or have to quarantine, we don’t have enough staff to keep school going. We need to protect our staff and their health so they can continue to provide education and services to our students and families who rely on us.
  • Just like on a snow day, when schools close, this also impacts local businesses. Families are forced to stay home with their children instead of going to work.
  • As we heard earlier today during the City of Lincoln’s press conference, our hospitals are stressed. We must support our health care workers.
  • We appreciate the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and the mayor for being proactive after looking at the concerning trends related to the Delta variant spread in our community. We continue to meet with them at least twice a week.
  • Hopefully we can get rid of the face coverings requirement soon, but not until we have greatly reduced the risk of spread in our community and our schools. 

Vice Board Chair Don Mayhew also updated the Board on the creation of a new ad hoc Board committee that would give Board members the opportunity to gain more information about LPS pandemic plans and open the lines of communication between Board members and staff in regards to ongoing efforts in the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan. He also shared there were formal complaints filed with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office about open meeting laws was handled at past Board meetings, but LPS legal counsel assured the committee that established protocols were being followed and was preparing a response.

Board member Dr. Bob Rauner also provided an update with current COVID-19 numbers in our community.

First Reading

Proposed Attendance Area Assignments

The opening of three new schools gives the Lincoln Board of Education the unique opportunity to review projected city growth and adjust current school attendance boundaries to fully and efficiently utilize existing and future building space. The Board Planning Committee presented the final draft of the proposed school attendance boundary changes during the regular meeting on Tuesday. 

The Board Planning Committee has met with staff and the community to gather information, look at data and draft a proposal for attendance boundary changes. You can view all of the proposed changes on the special LPS webpage

Any students impacted by the changes in 2022-23 or 2023-24 would be able to remain in their current attendance center based on Board Policy 5122, which in part states: “Students in attendance at a specific school may be permitted to complete their education at that attendance center if the boundary is changed, placing the family in another attendance center.” In addition, eighth-graders living within the LPS boundaries will still be able to choose any high school to attend their freshman year by January 31 of the previous year. If a high school is not requested by the first day of school, the student will attend their attendance area school.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the Sept. 14 meeting.

Proposed 2021-22 budget

The Board held first reading on the proposed 2021-22 budget and will vote on it at the Sept. 14 meeting. 

LPS is again making reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

You can learn more about the 2021-22 Budget here.

2021-22 Insurance Rates

For 26 years, LPS Risk Management has arranged for the school district’s insurance coverage through an Owner Controlled Self-Insurance program. The advantages of self-insurance are: 1) lower premiums, 2) the school district holds funds until needed to pay claims, 3) school district legal counsel is involved in all lawsuits, 4) all claim settlements are approved by the district, and 5) LPS staff and legal counsel are involved in claims from the beginning.

The LPS insurance broker, UNICO, provides LPS Risk Management with a report comparing the estimated premium costs for standard insurance coverage to the actual Owner Controlled Protected Self-Insurance program costs and estimates a savings to the district of more than one million dollars per year in premium costs alone.

Risk Management annually solicits quotes for all property and all liability insurance coverage, as well as excess Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage, Boiler and Machinery insurance, and the third-party claims handling service for property/liability through the Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) Company and UNICO. You can view the new rates here.

The Board waived second reading and approved the rates.

Second Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Dominion at Stevens Creek, Annexation Ordinance #21085, for the 2020-21 school year. Its assigned schools are Meadow Lane Elementary School, Culler Middle School and Lincoln East High School.

The Board voted to approve the assigned schools.

National Center for Families Learning – Extension of Federal Grant Funding through U.S. Department of Education

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) was awarded a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018 under the Parental Information and Resource Centers Program to establish the Nebraska Statewide Family Engagement Center to develop and replicate family literacy programs across the state. LPS was an initial partner in this program, with a three-year subaward to implement the four-component, evidence-based family literacy model already used by the school district. This program has been extremely successful in collecting additional evidence of this model’s success, and LPS was able to develop a new partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, which serves as the sponsor of the Nebraska Statewide Family Engagement Center.

NCFL is now receiving funding through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds from the Nebraska Department of Education to continue this programming for two more years. NCFL would like to extend the $30,000 subaward with LPS for these two years to continue implementing this programming, and will continue its fundraising efforts in hopes of extending the program even further.

The Board voted to approve the funding.

Public Comment

There were 41 citizens that addressed the Board during the public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the start of school for our early childhood program. 

ESU 18 Regular Meeting

2021-22 Educational Service Unit 18 Budget Adoption

Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented the proposed 2021-22 budget for ESU 18.

Posted on August 24, 2021


Highlights of Lincoln Board of Education Budget Hearing - Aug. 23, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education on Monday held a public hearing for the purpose of gathering public input on the proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish briefly presented the information, which includes input from various staff, community and parent groups. 

You can watch the full public hearing here.

The 2021-22 budget development process faces many challenges, as the current three-year forecast carries a great deal of volatility and uncertainty. LPS prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenues. 

LPS is again making reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time. 

Over the past year, LPS received three authorizations under Federal Relief Funding and planned use for the funding was detailed in the February 23 Board meeting (click here to view a video of the presentation). The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) provided aid to reopen and operate school during the pandemic, including remote learning for the 2020-21 school year. ESSER II provided aid to focus on learning acceleration through the summer, while also providing interventions and supports. LPS is currently working on a grant application for ESSER III funding that will be accounted for in a separate fund with rules and limitations on how it can be used. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

Other highlights of the 2021-22 proposed budget include:

  • The Board prioritized keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Staffing at schools was adjusted to match the drop in enrollment during the past school year along with a reduction at half of the level for district departments.
  • A proposed $9.4 million in reductions include cutting spending on contracted services, equipment and supplies, and eliminating approximately 85 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions through attrition by not filling existing vacancies or not replacing open positions.
  • Reductions were made to offset fixed expenditure increases, which include salary and benefit costs of $6.4 million, and $1.5 million in insurance premiums.
  • Start-up costs for the new elementary school and a new high school opening in the fall of 2022 of approximately $3.8 million.
  • Implementing an extensive reading intervention program at multiple grade levels instead of offering the licensed Reading Recovery Program at first grade will reach more students and save approximately $61,732.
  • Restructuring the gifted facilitator positions to a centralized system will provide more specialized services to more students and save approximately $324,223.
  • Hiring more school nurses to replace health technicians and treatment nurses will provide a reduction of $7,335.
  • Consolidating bus routes provides more efficiency and reduces the budget by nearly $100,000.
  • In 2019-20, LPS ranked 213th out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending - $12,889 per pupil compared to the state average of $13,558.
  • The General Fund Levy will remain at $1.05, but reductions in the Bond Fund Levy and the Qualified Capital Purpose Fund Levy will lower the overall levy one penny to $1.210942 from $1.221966.

The Board will hold first reading of the 2021-22 Budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Posted on August 23, 2021


Required Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training - Jason Foundation

Training is available for all Lincoln Public Schools employee groups required to take the annual suicide awareness/prevention training as required by the law passed by the Nebraska State Legislature in 2014. The deadline for completing the training is the end of the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year (Oct. 18, 2021). The training is provided by the Jason Foundation.

The link to access the training can be found here. You will need to register to create an account. When you are creating your password, use a combination of both lowercase letters and numbers with no special characters. As you create your account, be sure that all fields have been completed (if the item doesn't apply to you, put NA in the field). After you have registered, please choose the “one hour courses” option. Then choose the “Childhood and Teen Depression for Educators” course. Please note, fast forwarding or placing it as a tab in the background may prevent you from earning credit. 

Those required to take the training are: teachers, administrators, counselors, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, Gifted Mentors, Youth Development Team members, Campus Security, Early Childhood Student Parent Advocates, and para educators including SEMs. Any employee who is not required to take the training, including substitutes, can still take it if they choose to do so.

At the end of the training, you will receive a confirmation of completion email. Please forward that message to whomever will be your principal/supervisor or to the individual designated in your location/department for the 2021-22 school year.

Thank you for your continued work and dedication toward making Lincoln Public Schools a safe and welcoming place for the students of our community.

Please note: if you previously registered with the Jason Foundation and you are now not able to login to your account or you are having other issues, please contact the Jason Foundation at 615-264-2323.

Posted on August 18, 2021


Highlights of 8/10 Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

First Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Dominion at Stevens Creek, Annexation Ordinance #21085, for the 2020-21 school year. Its assigned schools are Meadow Lane Elementary School, Culler Middle School and Lincoln East High School.

The Board will vote on the proposed attendance centers at its next meeting.

National Center for Families Learning – Extension of Federal Grant Funding through U.S. Department of Education

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) was awarded a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018 under the Parental Information and Resource Centers Program to establish the Nebraska Statewide Family Engagement Center to develop and replicate family literacy programs across the state. LPS was an initial partner in this program, with a three-year subaward to implement the four-component, evidence-based family literacy model already used by the school district. This program has been extremely successful in collecting additional evidence of this model’s success, and LPS was able to develop a new partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, which serves as the sponsor of the Nebraska Statewide Family Engagement Center.

NCFL is now receiving funding through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds from the Nebraska Department of Education to continue this programming for two more years. NCFL would like to extend the $30,000 subaward with LPS for these two years to continue implementing this programming, and will continue its fundraising efforts in hopes of extending the program even further.

The Board will vote on this proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Pandemic and Emergency Powers Resolution

In March 2020, the Board approved its original pandemic and emergency powers resolution to provide the ability for prompt school district reactions to the evolving COVID-19 coronavirus so as to not prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.

In June 2020, the Board terminated that resolution and approved a new pandemic and emergency powers resolution, which approved a reopening plan for the fall of 2020 and among other things also provided for emergency powers as long as members of the Board of Education were reasonably informed of actions that were taken.

In light of changing circumstances and the new 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan, it’s recommended that resolution should also now be terminated, except for the emergency powers delegated to LPS Administration.

The Board voted to approve the resolution.

Board of Education and Superintendent’s Annual Goals and Priorities

Every year the Board evaluates the superintendent and develops priorities for the coming school year. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board voted to approve the following 2021-22 Board and superintendent goals and priorities: 

  1. By April 1, 2022, develop and present to the Board a comprehensive learning acceleration plan with specific strategies/interventions, such as increasing instructional time, to maximize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to improve outcomes for all students.
  2. By Sept. 1, 2021, present to the Board specific measurables to assess disparities in student learning outcomes, students’ school experience, and the composition of certified personnel. By April 1, 2022, present to the Board a plan to reduce these disparities and achieve more equitable outcomes.

U.S. Department of Justice Federal Grant - STOP School Violence Grant Program

The Board on Tuesday approved a proposal that LPS write a competitive application to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program. This program funds school safety projects that address one of two purpose areas: (1) To provide training to school personnel on preventing student violence against others and themselves, including how to respond to mental health crises; or (2) To develop and implement threat assessment and/or intervention teams, which must coordinate with law enforcement agencies and school personnel.

LPS utilizes a four-person threat assessment team, which responds to potential threats identified in over 60 schools and programs, making it crucial that school personnel clearly understand how to identify and respond to potential threats and how to work collaboratively with the district team.

The district will apply for grant funds for multiple training opportunities:

  • Threat identification training for all secondary school staff, including focus programs, over the course of three years.
  • Specialized threat management training for smaller, school-based threat assessment teams in secondary buildings, which will increase their competency for supporting the work of the district threat assessment team, including development of common language and protocols.
  • Supplemental training for the district threat team, which includes Lincoln Police Department and Blue Valley Behavioral Health staff.
  • Training for clinicians in secondary schools on WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) programming to support students returning to school after a mental health community placement.
  • Training on trauma and behavioral supports for IIn School Suspension Supervisors, Campus Supervisors and Student Support Technicians.

Interlocal Cooperation Act for School Resource Officers and Threat Assessment Officer

The Board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to approval a proposal that LPS enter into an agreement with the City of Lincoln for providing 12 school resource officers and a threat assessment officer for Sept. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022.  This agreement may be renewed for additional one-year periods upon mutual written agreement between LPS and the City of Lincoln. The resource officers are assigned to LPS middle and high schools and the threat assessment officer works district-wide. The officers assist with the education of students, assist staff and facilitate communication between LPS and the police department.

This will be an expenditure of $533,169 from the LPS general fund. The cost per officer per year payable by LPS cannot be greater than the cost the prior year, compounded by a growth limitation of 5 percent per calendar year. The increase for 2021 is 4.95 percent.

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Joel offered an update about the school district’s plans moving forward regarding COVID-19 and the beginning of the school year. He stressed that LPS administration continues to meet with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on at least a weekly basis and that the plan is always subject to change depending on current conditions. Superintendent Joel asked Board member Bob Rauner to present on recently cited media reports related to COVID-19 and the wearing of face coverings. LPS Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp also talked briefly about the school district’s efforts since 1993 to ensure that ventilation in all LPS facilities meet or exceed federal standards.

Public Comment

There were 37 citizens that addressed the Board during the public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured New Educator Week, which offered new teachers an opportunity to learn more about LPS and prepare for the year. The video featured one new teacher who will teach fourth grade at McPhee Elementary School after being a college engineering professor in Iraq. 

LPS LIVE: Board Preview - Boundary Attendance Changes

Board Vice President Don Mayhew sits down with Board Planning Committee Chair Bob Rauner, Associate Superintendent of Business Affairs Liz Standish and Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp to talk about the process behind the proposed Attendance Boundary Changes. 

Posted on August 10, 2021


August 10 meeting notice for the Lincoln Board of Education

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 10, at 6:00 p.m. located in the boardroom at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

There are multiple ways to view the livestream of the meeting:

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District, and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms.

In keeping with Board Policy:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose. Those speaking must provide their first and last name, address of residence, and what organization if they are representing one on the card prior to addressing the Board.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media or displays.

Please note: Due to the number of anticipated speakers, the Board will hear up to one hour of public comment (agenda item number seven), followed by the business meeting and then the second public comment session (agenda item number 15). If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

 

Posted on August 06, 2021


Highlights of 7/27 Board of Education Regular Meeting and Budget Work Session

Budget Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Budget Work Session on Tuesday, July 27, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 27, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

First Reading

Pandemic and Emergency Powers Resolution

In March 2020, the Board approved its original pandemic and emergency powers resolution to provide the ability for prompt school district reactions to the evolving COVID-19 coronavirus so as to not prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.

In June 2020, the Board terminated that resolution and approved a new pandemic and emergency powers resolution, which approved a reopening plan for the fall of 2020 and among other things also provided for emergency powers as long as members of the Board of Education were reasonably informed of such actions taken pursuant to [such] authority.

In light of changing circumstances and the new 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan, it’s recommended that resolution should now also be terminated.

The Board will vote on the recommendation at its next meeting.

Board of Education and Superintendent’s Annual Goals and Priorities

Every year the Board evaluates the superintendent and develops priorities for the coming school year. At Tuesday’s meeting, the following 2021-22 Board and superintendent goals and priorities were presented for consideration: 

  1. By April 1, 2022, develop and present to the Board a comprehensive learning acceleration plan with specific strategies/interventions, such as increasing instructional time, to maximize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to improve outcomes for all students.
  2. By Sept. 1, 2021, present to the Board specific measurables to assess disparities in student learning outcomes, students’ school experience, and the composition of certified personnel. By April 1, 2022, present to the Board a plan to reduce these disparities and achieve more equitable outcomes.

Proposed Agreements with Maintenance Employees Association and Transportation Employees Association

The Board has recognized the Maintenance Employees Association and Transportation Employees Association as the exclusive bargaining agents to negotiate salary, fringe benefits and working conditions for members of their employee groups. LPS has negotiated with these employee groups and a tentative agreement has been reached with LPS for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposed agreements are as follows:

Maintenance
The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.58% across the board increase. The total package includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all maintenance employees beginning in the fall 2021.

Transportation
The total package for 2021-22 is 1.83%. The total package includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs - and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums. Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all Transportation employees beginning in the fall 2021.

The Board waived second reading and approved the proposed agreements.

U.S. Department of Justice Federal Grant - STOP School Violence Grant Program

LPS is proposing to write a competitive application to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program. This program funds school safety projects that address one of two purpose areas: (1) To provide training to school personnel on preventing student violence against others and themselves, including how to respond to mental health crises; or (2) To develop and implement threat assessment and/or intervention teams, which must coordinate with law enforcement agencies and school personnel.

LPS utilizes a four-person threat assessment team, which responds to potential threats identified in over 60 schools and programs, making it crucial that school personnel clearly understand how to identify and respond to potential threats and how to work collaboratively with the district team.

The district will apply for grant funds for multiple training opportunities:

  • Threat identification training for all secondary school staff, including focus programs, over the course of three years.
  • Specialized threat management training for smaller, school-based threat assessment teams in secondary buildings, which will increase their competency for supporting the work of the district threat assessment team, including development of common language and protocols.
  • Supplemental training for the district threat team, which includes Lincoln Police Department and Blue Valley Behavioral Health staff.
  • Training for clinicians in secondary schools on WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) programming to support students returning to school after a mental health community placement.
  • Training on trauma and behavioral supports for IIn School Suspension Supervisors, Campus Supervisors and Student Support Technicians.

The Board will vote on the grant application at its next meeting.

Interlocal Cooperation Act for School Resource Officers and Threat Assessment Officer

It’s proposed that LPS enter into an agreement with the City of Lincoln for providing 12 school resource officers and a threat assessment officer for Sept. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022.  This agreement may be renewed for additional one-year periods upon mutual written agreement between LPS and the City of Lincoln. The resource officers are assigned to LPS middle and high schools and the threat assessment officer works district-wide. The officers assist with the education of students, assist staff and facilitate communication between LPS and the police department.

This would be an expenditure of $533,169 from the LPS general fund. The cost per officer per year payable by LPS cannot be greater than the cost the prior year, compounded by a growth limitation of 5 percent per calendar year. The increase for 2021 is 4.95 percent.

The Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

New High Schools Construction Projects

The Board waived second reading and approved five construction project bids for the new high schools.

Standing Bear High School Landscaping and Seeding Package

  • Nebraska Nursery & Color Garden (Lincoln, Neb.): $328,946

Standing Bear High School Electrical Package

  • Gregg Electric Co. (Lincoln, Neb.): $652,300

Both bids were the lowest received. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

New High Schools Expansion Control Package

The Board waived second reading and voted to accept a bid of $75,924 from Williams Restoration Co. (Papillion, Neb.) for an expansion control package for the two new high schools under construction. It was the only bid received and will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

New High Schools Site Irrigation Package

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve a bid of $321,782 from Millard Sprinkler/HEP, Inc. (Omaha/Lincoln, Neb.) for irrigation work for the two new high schools under construction. It was the lowest bid received and will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

Architecture and Engineering Services for New High School Athletics Complexes

In June 2019, the Board approved a contract with The Clark Enersen Partners, now known as Clark & Enersen, for design and construction administration services for the two new high schools.
 
The project scope under the contract has been adjusted to include basic services for design and construction administration work on new activities complexes at the high school sites. Fees for the adjusted basic services are not to exceed $830,000. 

Second Reading

Transportation Plan

Every year district policy is reviewed and recommendations for changes are solicited from schools and departments. Transportation schedules are prepared and a summary of needs is balanced against staff and equipment available to the school district. On Tuesday the Board approved the transportation plan that was presented at the June 22 meeting.

For the 2021-22 school year - like past years - the LPS Transportation Department will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:

  1. Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from their school attendance area;
  2. Special education students whose Individual Education Plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning;
  3. Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.

In addition, the Board may approve other transportation areas based on unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.

Policy Updates

Special Education - 7000 series

Periodically, changes in federal or state law requires the Lincoln Board of Education to review existing policies to ensure compliance with these changes. Following each session of the Nebraska Unicameral, the Board’s policies are reviewed to identify the policies that need to be deleted, revised, or added. Updates to Policy 7000 are recommended to keep the policy aligned with the Nebraska Administrative Code. On Tuesday the Board approved updates.

From the Superintendent

In the Superintendent’s Report, Steve Joel informed the Board that LPS continues to meet with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to get the latest information and recommendations as we plan for students and staff to return to school. 

Closed Session

The Board adjourned into closed session for litigation and legal advice.

Public Comment

A total of 32 citizens addressed the Board during two seperate public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the LPS summer JumpStart program. 
 

Posted on July 27, 2021


Meeting notices for Lincoln Board of Education - July 27, 2021

The following public meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education will take place on Tuesday, July 27, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Board of Education Work Session - 4:30 p.m.

Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.

The meetings will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment, recommendation and advice through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms.

In keeping with Board Policy 8420:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media.

If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on July 23, 2021


LPS releases the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan

The community can now find the full 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan on the LPS website: lps.org/safereturn.

After meeting with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and reviewing the feedback gathered, it was determined there would be no major revisions to the protocols and requirements that were proposed on July 1.

“While we are highly concerned about the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our community, our plan follows the recent guidelines released by the CDC while addressing the current risk of spread and test positivity rate in our community,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “If the risk of spread and test positivity rate in our community continues to increase prior to school starting, we will collaborate with the LLCHD to adjust our protocols and requirements to mitigate the risk of transmission in our schools.”

Those adjustments could include changing the face covering protocols for the entire school district, or a specific school building, program, classroom or learning environment. 

Joel added, “We agree with the CDC that students belong back in school and we will take the necessary measures to ensure we can safely continue with in-person learning.” 

Staff, students, families and the community had an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to Schools Plan until July 9. LPS received 1,036 submissions during the response period. An analysis of the feedback was conducted by staff from Education Service Unit #18 and they identified 965 relevant responses that were coded into three categories: agreement with the plan, requests for more restrictive safety measures, and requests for less restrictive safety measures. Below is a breakdown of the responses:

Category

Responses

Agreement with the plan

116

Requests for more restrictive safety measures

438

Requests for less restrictive safety measures

411

Total Relevant Responses

965

“As you can see, the feedback we received was pretty close to being evenly divided between those who thought we were too strict and those who thought we were not strict enough,” Joel said. “We will continue to collect feedback on any changes as the school year progresses.”

Lincoln Public Schools will continuously review and update the 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan throughout the school year. This work will be ongoing as new research emerges and more guidance is provided to the school district from the LLCHD, the CDC, the Nebraska Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Any changes to the plan, protocols and requirements will be communicated ahead of time through the LPS website, email and social media. 

Below are the minor revisions and a few of the small additions and clarifications included in the website update:

Volunteers, Visitors and Families at School

During regular school hours, volunteers, visitors and families are welcome in our school buildings as long as they either wear a face covering at all times or provide proof that they are fully vaccinated.

For volunteers, visitors and families who are fully vaccinated face coverings are OPTIONAL. For volunteers and visitors who are not fully vaccinated face coverings are REQUIRED

At events that take place outside of the normal school day, vaccination status is based on a self-identified system. For volunteers, visitors and families who are fully vaccinated face coverings are OPTIONAL. For volunteers, visitors and families who are not fully vaccinated face coverings are REQUIRED. 

All guests must perform the self-screening for symptoms prior to entering a building and adhere to the face covering protocols.

Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required, but strongly recommended for anyone over the age of 12.

The 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan will go into effect on Monday, August 2, 2021. Until then, LPS will continue with the summer protocols announced on May 21.

Posted on July 15, 2021


Matzen named new principal at Southwest High School

Lincoln Public Schools announced Monday that John Matzen will be the next principal at Southwest High School effective immediately. Matzen will follow Mike Gillotti, who has accepted a position with the school district in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Matzen has served as associate principal at Southwest since 2018. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at Lincoln North Star High School, where he was a business teacher, instructional coordinator and associate principal.

Matzen earned his Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Doane College and his Certification in Business Education, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“John’s energy and passion for Southwest make him a great fit for this new leadership role,” said Matt Larson, associate superintendent for instruction. “He has an ideal mix of teaching, administrative and leadership experience that will continue to serve the Southwest community well.”

Eric Weber, associate superintendent for human resources, added, “John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience within LPS, and this will be a great opportunity for continued growth at Southwest.”

Posted on July 12, 2021


Online Budget Forum June 24th at Noon

Virtual Forum Thursday, June 24, at noon

Participate via Zoom
Join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link.

Watch on Facebook
This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session to view the preliminary proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented the information, which includes input from various staff, community and parent groups. You can view the entire work session here.

The 2021-22 budget development process faces many challenges, as the current three-year forecast carries a great deal of volatility and uncertainty. LPS prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenues. 

“The goal of the three-year forecast is sustainability and stability as major swings in revenue are steadied through the utilization of cash flow,” Standish said. “This year’s process proves difficult, as there are many unknowns still associated with the pandemic. We are also seeing major fluctuations in student enrollment, property valuations, State Equalization Aid and rising cost.”

LPS is looking again to make reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time.

Standish added, “We developed a preliminary proposed budget plan that emphasizes keeping reductions as far away from the classroom as possible while also focusing on the district’s goal of strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Over the past year, LPS received three authorizations under Federal Relief Funding and planned use for the funding was detailed in the February 23 Board meeting (click here to view a video of the presentation). The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) provided aid to reopen and operate school during the pandemic, including remote learning for the 2020-21 school year. ESSER II provided aid to focus on learning acceleration through the summer, while also providing interventions and supports. LPS is currently working on a grant application for ESSER III funding that will be accounted for in a separate fund with rules and limitations on how it can be used. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

Other highlights of the 2021-22 preliminary proposed budget include:

  • The Board prioritized keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Staffing at schools was adjusted to match the drop in enrollment during the past school year.
  • A proposed $9.4 million in reductions include cutting spending on contracted services, equipment and supplies, and eliminating approximately 85 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions through attrition by not filling existing vacancies or not replacing open positions.
  • Reductions were made to offset fixed expenditure increases, which include salary and benefit costs of $6.4 million, and $1.5 million in insurance premiums.
  • Start-up costs for the new elementary school and a new high school opening in the fall of 2022 of approximately $3.8 million.
  • Implementing an extensive reading intervention program at multiple grade levels instead of offering the licensed Reading Recovery Program at first grade will reach more students and save approximately $61,732.
  • Restructuring the gifted facilitator positions to a centralized system will provide more specialized services to more students and save approximately $324,223.
  • Hiring more school nurses to replace health technicians and treatment nurses will provide a reduction of $7,335.
  • Consolidating bus routes provides more efficiency and reduces the budget by nearly $100,000.
  • In 2019-20, LPS ranked 213th out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending - $12,889 per pupil compared to the state average of $13,558.
  • The General Fund Levy will remain at $1.05, but reductions in the Bond Fund Levy and the Qualified Capital Purpose Fund Levy will lower the overall levy one penny to $1.211892 from $1.221966.

LPS continues to rely on a solid process for budget development that includes multiple opportunities for community feedback. There will be two budget forums - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In-person forum: Wednesday, June 23, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 24, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

Any community group that would like to schedule a presentation on the preliminary proposed budget should contact LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish at 402-436-1636 or by emailing lstandis@lps.org. More information about the LPS preliminary proposed budget can be found on the LPS website: lps.org/about/budget.

Posted on June 24, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education views preliminary proposed budget for 2021-22 during work session

Virtual Forum Thursday, June 24, at noon

Participate via Zoom
Join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link.

Watch on Facebook
This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session to view the preliminary proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented the information, which includes input from various staff, community and parent groups. You can view the entire work session here.

The 2021-22 budget development process faces many challenges, as the current three-year forecast carries a great deal of volatility and uncertainty. LPS prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenues. 

“The goal of the three-year forecast is sustainability and stability as major swings in revenue are steadied through the utilization of cash flow,” Standish said. “This year’s process proves difficult, as there are many unknowns still associated with the pandemic. We are also seeing major fluctuations in student enrollment, property valuations, State Equalization Aid and rising cost.”

LPS is looking again to make reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time.

Standish added, “We developed a preliminary proposed budget plan that emphasizes keeping reductions as far away from the classroom as possible while also focusing on the district’s goal of strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Over the past year, LPS received three authorizations under Federal Relief Funding and planned use for the funding was detailed in the February 23 Board meeting (click here to view a video of the presentation). The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) provided aid to reopen and operate school during the pandemic, including remote learning for the 2020-21 school year. ESSER II provided aid to focus on learning acceleration through the summer, while also providing interventions and supports. LPS is currently working on a grant application for ESSER III funding that will be accounted for in a separate fund with rules and limitations on how it can be used. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

Other highlights of the 2021-22 preliminary proposed budget include:

  • The Board prioritized keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Staffing at schools was adjusted to match the drop in enrollment during the past school year.
  • A proposed $9.4 million in reductions include cutting spending on contracted services, equipment and supplies, and eliminating approximately 85 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions through attrition by not filling existing vacancies or not replacing open positions.
  • Reductions were made to offset fixed expenditure increases, which include salary and benefit costs of $6.4 million, and $1.5 million in insurance premiums.
  • Start-up costs for the new elementary school and a new high school opening in the fall of 2022 of approximately $3.8 million.
  • Implementing an extensive reading intervention program at multiple grade levels instead of offering the licensed Reading Recovery Program at first grade will reach more students and save approximately $61,732.
  • Restructuring the gifted facilitator positions to a centralized system will provide more specialized services to more students and save approximately $324,223.
  • Hiring more school nurses to replace health technicians and treatment nurses will provide a reduction of $7,335.
  • Consolidating bus routes provides more efficiency and reduces the budget by nearly $100,000.
  • In 2019-20, LPS ranked 213th out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending - $12,889 per pupil compared to the state average of $13,558.
  • The General Fund Levy will remain at $1.05, but reductions in the Bond Fund Levy and the Qualified Capital Purpose Fund Levy will lower the overall levy one penny to $1.211892 from $1.221966.

LPS continues to rely on a solid process for budget development that includes multiple opportunities for community feedback. There will be two budget forums - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In-person forum: Wednesday, June 23, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 24, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

Any community group that would like to schedule a presentation on the preliminary proposed budget should contact LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish at 402-436-1636 or by emailing lstandis@lps.org. More information about the LPS preliminary proposed budget can be found on the LPS website: lps.org/about/budget.

Posted on June 24, 2021


Highlights of 6/22 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 22, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. We apologize for any audio issues viewers experienced on the LNKTV - Education Channel. The full board meeting with audio can be viewed here.

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized Lincoln Southwest High School Athletic Director Mark Armstrong with a formal resolution. The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association recently honored Armstrong with its Award of Merit. 

Transportation Plan Presentation

LPS Director of Transportation Ryan Robley presented the school district’s transportation plan for the 2021-22 school year. Every year district policy is reviewed and recommendations for changes are solicited from schools and departments. Transportation schedules are prepared and a summary of needs is balanced against staff and equipment available to the school district.  

For the 2021-22 school year - like past years - the LPS Transportation Department will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:

  1. Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from their school attendance area;
  2. Special education students whose Individual Education Plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning;
  3. Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.

In addition, the Board may approve other transportation areas based on unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.

The full plan can be viewed here.

First Reading

Policy Updates

Special Education - 7000 series

Periodically, changes in federal or state law requires the Lincoln Board of Education to review existing policies to ensure compliance with these changes.  Following each session of the Nebraska Unicameral, the Board’s policies are reviewed to identify the policies that need to be deleted, revised, or added. Updates to Policy 7000 are recommended to keep the policy aligned with the Nebraska Administrative Code. You can find the proposed updates here.

Southwest High School Turf Improvements

The Board held first reading for bids received on the installment of turf field improvements at Southwest High School. Services will include site demolition, grading, installation of aggregate base course, installation of storm sewer piping, synthetic turf and other minor improvements. This project will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund. There were two bids submitted. It was recommended the project be awarded to the lowest bidder meeting specifications, which was Mid-America Golf & Landscape (Lee's Summit, Missouri) for $922,922.92.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the submitted bid.

New High Schools Kitchen Equipment

The Board held first reading for bids received to provide kitchen equipment for the new Northwest and Standing Bear high schools. There were two bids submitted. It was recommended the project be awarded to the lowest bidder meeting specifications, which was Hockenbergs (Omaha) for $3,252,152. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the bid submitted by Hockenbergs.

Proposed Agreements with Administrators, Custodial Employees Association, Nutrition Services Workers Association, Office Professionals Association, Paraeducator Employees Association and Technicians

The Board recognizes the Custodial Employees Association, the Maintenance Employees Association, the Nutrition Services Workers Association, the Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals, the Paraeducator Employees Association and the Transportation Employees Association as the exclusive bargaining agents to negotiate salary, fringe benefits and working conditions for members of their employee groups. LPS Director of Employee Relations and Personnel Robbie Seybert has negotiated with each employee group. He also has met and conferred with the representatives from the administrator and technician groups. Tentative agreements have been reached between LPS and these employee groups for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposed agreements for each employee group are:

Administrators:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.65% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all administrators beginning in fall 2021.

Custodial:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.71% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all custodians beginning in fall 2021.
  • Additional language regarding shift variance pay when work is conducted outside a normally scheduled shift.

Nutrition Services:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.83% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all Nutrition Services employees beginning in fall 2021.
  • Elimination of Uniform Allowance Stipend and corresponding funds placed in salary increase.

Office Professionals:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.85% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all office employees beginning in fall 2021.

Paraprofessionals:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 2% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all Paraprofessionals beginning in fall 2021.
  • Minor editorial changes to the Paraprofessional Agreement/Salary Schedule were made (years, pay, etc.)

Technicians:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.62% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all technicians beginning in fall 2021.

Editorial changes (leave, years, pay, deductions, etc.) were made in the agreements/salary schedules/handbooks. These settlements are within the parameters set by the Board.

A complete copy of the proposed agreement/handbook for each of the eight employee groups is available for review at the office of the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, at LPS District Office, upon request.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the agreements at this meeting because there is only one Board meeting in July.

Second Reading

Policy Updates

The Board voted to approve two policy updates.

Policy 4780 - Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students

Periodically, the Nebraska Unicameral passes laws that impact school district policies or mandate that local school boards adopt specific language into district policy. When this occurs, staff prepare either new policy language that complies with these mandates and presents it to the Board for consideration. 

The noted changes to policy 4780 can be found here.

Policy 6000 Series - Instruction

Periodically, a policy series is reviewed in order to address changes in legislation or regulation from the state or federal government, or to bring policy in line with current practice or intent of the Board. During the 2020-21 school year, the 6000 Policy Series was first reviewed by the instructional directors through the lens of equity with an eye both on identifying any policy that potentially disadvantaged any group of students, as well as looking at ways policies could be more inclusive and reflect the school district’s commitment to equity. The Student Learning Committee and Technology Committee then spent significant time reviewing those recommendations and is recommending a number of changes. 

The noted changes to policies in the 6000 series can be found here.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS & ESU 18 for Educational Services

The Board voted to approve an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement between LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing services, not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

The Board voted to approve an agreement between LPS and ESU 18 to participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, ESU 18 agrees to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

Informational Reports

The Career Academy

Board member Lanny Boswell reported that 623 students are registered for next year, including 200 second-year students. Enrollment is projected to be roughly 650 students next school year. The three most popular pathways, based on applications, are Health Sciences with 164 applicants, Criminal Justice with 62 and Welding with 46. 

From the Superintendent

Superintendent Steve Joel clarified information that was discussed during the public comment period.

  • LPS has not commented on the draft health standards that have been discussed by the Nebraska Department of Education, as they are still in draft form and nothing has been presented as finalized for local school boards to consider. The state board needs to finish their process. The health curriculum that was recently purchased is an update to the current curriculum that is no longer in print and follows LPS health standards that were adopted in 2012. Anyone wishing to view the curriculum can make a request by calling our Curriculum Department.
  • LPS made a commitment to do equity work within Lincoln Public Schools and we are strongly committed to that work now and for the future. At LPS, we teach kindness and having healthy relationships, not Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is a formal academic framework like those found in colleges, not at LPS. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and LPS continues to work in collaboration with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to utilize protocols to mitigate the risk of spread among our staff and students during summer school. That includes the use of face coverings for K-8 students in summer school and vaccines when appropriate. No decisions concerning protocols for the 21-22 school year have been made.

Closed Session

The Board adjourned into closed session for litigation and legal advice after the ESU 18 Regular Meeting.

Public Comment

19 citizens addressed the Board during the public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured a joint summer program between the Malone Center and The Career Academy (TCA) that allows students explore various career pathways offered at TCA. 


ESU Regular Meeting

The Educational Service Unit 18 Board met after the Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

Second Reading

Interlocal Agreement with Lancaster County for Educational Services to the Youth Services Center

The ESU 18 Board voted to approve an agreement to partner with Lancaster County to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Through this agreement, the county agrees that the Youth Services Center will provide appropriate space, time and staff support to assist ESU 18 in providing these services. The county will reimburse ESU 18 for all expenses incurred in providing such services, not to exceed $875,460. The term of the proposed agreement would be Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Educational Services

The ESU 18 Board voted to approve an agreement with LPS to participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, LPS agrees to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing these services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

The ESU 18 Board voted to approve an agreement with LPS to participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, ESU 18 agrees to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

Posted on June 22, 2021


Meeting notices for Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 - June 22, 2021

The following public meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education and Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18 will take place on Tuesday, June 22, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Board of Education Work Session - 4:30 p.m.

Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
(ESU 18 meeting immediately following)

The meetings will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment, recommendation and advice through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms.

In keeping with Board Policy 8420:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media.

If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on June 18, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education continues budget development with work session and public forums

The Lincoln Board of Education continues their work in developing the 2021-22 budget with multiple opportunities for community engagement during the week of June 21. 

First, the Board will participate in a budget work session starting at 4:30 p.m, Tuesday, June 22, at the LPS District Office. The work session will be streamed live on the LNK TV Education channel, the LPS website and LPS YouTube channel.

There will also be two public budget forums held - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In person forum: Wednesday, June 23, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 24, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

For information about the LPS Budget please contact Liz Standish at 436-1636 or by email at lstandis@lps.org.

Posted on June 16, 2021


Proposed school boundary changes presented to Lincoln Board of Education

The opening of three new schools gives the Lincoln Board of Education the unique opportunity to review projected city growth and adjust current school attendance boundaries to fully and efficiently utilize existing and future building space. The Board Planning Committee presented the proposed school boundary changes to the full Board during Tuesday’s work session.

The Board Planning Committee has been meeting with staff to gather information, look at data and draft a proposal for boundary changes. The next step in the process will be to provide the proposal information to the community through a special webpage on the Lincoln Public Schools website. During that time, community feedback will be gathered through a form on the website and reviewed by the committee. There will also be multiple public forums scheduled in August. Adjustments to the proposal will then be made based on the feedback provided and a final proposal will be  presented to the Board for approval in late August or early September. The boundary changes would not take effect until the 2022-23 school year. 

Planning Committee Chair Bob Rauner commented about the process, “These are proposed boundary changes and are not a full recommendation yet. The public will have multiple opportunities to comment and provide feedback through the webpage and community forums both in-person and virtually.” 

Any students impacted by the proposed changes in 2022-23 would be able to remain in their current attendance center based on Board Policy 5122, which in part states: “Students in attendance at a specific school may be permitted to complete their education at that attendance center if the boundary is changed, placing the family in another attendance center.” In addition, eighth-graders living within the LPS boundaries will still be able to choose any high school to attend their freshman year by January 31 of the previous year. If a high school is not requested by the first day of school, the student will attend their attendance area school.

Below are highlights of the proposed boundary changes for elementary and middle schools presented during the work session. 

Proposed Elementary School Boundary Changes

  • Study Area A (Beattie to Roper): the area between West Van Dorn Street to West Old Cheney Road, and Highway 77 to Northwest 112th Street.
  • Study Area B (Meadow Lane to the new Robinson Elementary): the area between North 84th Street to North 112th Street, and Holdrege Street to north of O Street. 
  • Study Area C (Kahoa to the new Robinson Elementary): the area between North 84th Street to North 98th Street, and south of Adams Street to north of Holdrege Street. 
  • Study Area E (Riley to Meadow Lane): the area between North 56th Street to North Cotner, and south of Holdrege Street to the north of O Street.
  • Study Area F (Huntington to Riley): the area between North 48th Street to North 52nd Street, and south of Huntington Avenue to the north of Garland Street.
  • Study Area H (Adams to Cavett): the area between South 32nd Street to South 40th Street, and south of Yankee Hill Road to an area between Rokeby and Saltillo roads. This will also include an area south of the drainage channel from 27th Street to South 32nd Street.
  • Study Area I (Sheridan to Holmes): the area to the north and east of Normal Boulevard to west of 42nd Street, and between South and Sumner streets.
  • Study Area J (Sheridan to Beattie): the area to the south of Van Dorn Street, between Woodsdale Boulevard and south 27th Street.
  • Study Area P (Pyrtle to Morley): the area between 77th Street to 84th Street, and south of Van Dorn Street to the north of Bancroft Avenue.
  • Study Area Q1 and Q2 (Pyrtle to Maxey): the area between 84th Street to west of 98th Street, and between South Street and Pioneers Boulevard.
  • Study Area S1 (Adams to Roper): the area between West Old Cheney Road and West Pleasant Hill Road, and between Southwest 40th Street and South Folsom Street.
  • Study Area T (Humann to Cavett): the area between South 40th and South 48th streets, and between Yankee Hill and Rokeby Roads.

Proposed Middle School Boundary Changes

  • Study Area A (Park to Irving): the area west of the railroad tracks and South 1st Street between Pioneers Boulevard and Van Dorn Street; including the area between Old Cheney Road and Pioneers Boulevard and from west of the railroad tracks to Southwest 12th Street.
  • Study Area B1 (Scott to Irving): the area between the railroad tracks to Southwest 12th Street, between Old Cheney Road and Pleasant Hill Road and including an area to Denton Road between Folsom Street and the railroad tracks.
  • Study Area C (Scott to Irving): the area between Old Cheney Road and Claire Avenue between South Coddington and Southwest 12th.
  • Study Area L (Pound to Moore): the area south of San Mateo Lane and Union Hill Road to Yankee Hill Road, between 40th to 56th Street.

Planning Committee Member Annie Mumgaard added, “In the Planning Committee, another question that we constantly kept bringing up is the question of equity when you’re looking at boundaries. When you’re creating boundaries, you can do some unintended consequences that can be inequitable, so that always became a question as well - what school is this impacting, how is it impacting the neighborhoods.”

Planning Committee Member Lanny Boswell commented, “Because of our family-friendly transfer policy, students that attend their school currently - even if the boundary moves - your student can still continue to attend the school you’re at, as well as any siblings that would attend concurrently. What that means is that all of these proposals if adopted phase in over time and that is part of the intent - we know as the city continues to grow we continue to make adjustments to make efficient use of all of our facilities to serve students the best we can.”  

Posted on June 09, 2021


Highlights of 6/8 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 8, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp with a formal resolution during the meeting. The Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association recently honored Wieskamp as the Nebraska District I Athletic Director of the Year.

Athletics Update

LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp presented her department’s annual report to the Board. The core purpose of LPS athletics, she said, is to offer students education-based opportunities to extend the learning experiences outside the classroom. These experiences aid in the overall growth of student-athletes by promoting academic achievement, skill development, life skills and citizenship. The athletic program creates an environment that strives for excellence by encouraging student participation, supporting academic progress and promoting physical, social, emotional and character development while creating a sense of community.

Wieskamp noted that 27 percent of LPS high school students - 22 percent of females, 31 percent of males - participated in athletics during the 2020-21 school year. She also spoke about how LPS athletics adapted and adjusted during the pandemic, as well as how it’s addressing issues of equity and inclusion and what’s offered in the summer to student-athletes.

Sustainability Update

LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin gave the Board an update on the school district’s sustainability efforts, which are guided by the following strategies:

  • Stewardship
  • Instruction
  • Green building design
  • Energy and water
  • Purchasing
  • Transportation
  • Measurement
  • Waste management

Albin shared data that clearly illustrate the benefits of the school’s district’s sustainability work, including the following from 2020:

  • Total pounds recycled: 1,239,743, including 286,408 cardboard products and 333,840 pounds of paper
  • Total pounds reused: 39,234
  • Total pounds to landfill: 1,823,003
  • Diversion rate: 54 percent
  • Total pounds compost: 902,860
  • Radon tests: 1,833
  • Air quality data points: 28,252
  • Water samples taken: 1,343

You can read more about LPS Sustainability, including its work with schools and strategies moving forward, in the 2020 Annual Sustainability Report. The report is available online.

First Reading

Policy Updates

Policy 4780 - Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students

Periodically, the Nebraska Unicameral passes laws that impact school district policies or mandate that local school boards adopt specific language into district policy. When this occurs, staff prepare either new policy language of edited language that complies with these mandates and presents it to the Board for consideration. 

The noted changes to policy 4780 can be found here.

Policy 6000 Series - Instruction

Periodically, a policy series is reviewed in order to address changes in legislation or regulation from the state or federal government, or to bring policy in line with current practice or intent of the Board. During the 2020-21 school year, the 6000 Policy Series was first reviewed by the instructional directors through the lens of equity with an eye both on identifying any policy that potentially disadvantaged any group of students, as well as looking at ways policies could be more inclusive and reflect the school district’s commitment to equity. The Student Learning Committee and Technology Committee then spent significant time reviewing those recommendations and is recommending a number of changes. 

The noted changes to policies in the 6000 series can be found here.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS & ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing services, not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Naming of New High School in Southeast Lincoln

The Board voted to approve that the new high school to be built in southeast Lincoln be named Standing Bear High School.

A committee of 10 community members (Becky Dunder, Halley Kruse, Richard Meginnis, Amanda Morales, Cindy Ryman Yost, Alynn Sampson, Kamryn Sannicks, Deb Schorr, Felecia Welke and Ed Zimmer) and three Board members (Bob Rauner, Lanny Boswell and Don Mayhew) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new high school to be built in south Lincoln near 70th Street and Saltillo Road. Over 200 names were suggested by more than 600 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions and make a recommendation to the Board.

The committee unanimously recommended that the new school be named Standing Bear High School. Standing Bear (1829-1908) was a chief of the Ponca Tribe when the tribe was forcibly removed from its homeland in Nebraska. When Standing Bear returned to Nebraska to bury his son, he was arrested and held for trial. Standing Bear prevailed and was declared a "person" according to law. He and his followers were free to return to their homeland. However, they had no home to return to, as all of the tribe’s land had been taken from them.

The school will open in fall 2023.

U.S. Department of Justice School Violence Prevention Grant Program

The Board voted to approve the LPS submission of the School Violence Prevention Grant application. This program is through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s designed to provide funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds through the following strategies: coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and themselves; placement and use of deterrent equipment; and acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.

LPS utilizes many procedures and systems to ensure the safety of students and staff, including the use of two-way radios for communication within schools. However, replacing this equipment in elementary and middle schools is not currently within budgetary options. The recommended life of these devices is 10-12 years; current projections for their replacement is 20 years.

Also, current equipment used in LPS schools use an analog signal, while a digital signal is much stronger and offers greater communication options and flexibility for staff. This grant provides an opportunity to replace current analog, two-way radios in elementary and middle schools with digital devices over the next three years. A plan is already in place to replace all high school radios.

This $500,000 grant is for 36 months. There is a 25% match requirement, which will be provided through existing district security staff time as in-kind contribution. The grant application is due June 22, 2021.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of homeless children. This program addresses the problems that homeless children face in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. Under this program, state and local educational agencies ensure that homeless children have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education - including a public preschool education - as other children. States and school districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance or success in school.

The LPS homeless outreach coordinator position works with families experiencing homelessness to arrange transportation services for children to attend school. They also work with families to provide other supports that create a more stable environment for children experiencing homelessness. LPS will use funds received through the McKinney-Vento Act to continue to support the salary of the homeless outreach coordinator and to pay transportation costs for homeless children to attend school.  

The Board discussed the submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $53,000, with the final allocation to be determined by the State of Nebraska after submission and dependent upon grants awarded to other applicants. This grant requires a 100 percent match from Title I allocated to LPS. Title I funds have been used in past years to cover the required match.

The Board voted to approve the application. The application is due June 16, 2021.

Proposed 2021-2022 Pay Rates for Substitute and Miscellaneous Employees

The Board approved the 2020-21 pay rates for substitute and miscellaneous employees. The recommended salary increases range from no increase to a 1.00 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions. You can view the approved pay rates here

Public Comment

Seven citizens addressed the Board during the public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the first LPS unified track meet, which was held this spring. Unified sports pairs special education students with intellectual disabilities with their general education classmates in competition together. This was the first year for unified track, which is sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA). It joins bowling as NSAA-sanctioned unified sports.


ESU Regular Meeting

The Educational Service Unit 18 Board met after the Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

First Reading

Interlocal Agreement with Lancaster County for Educational Services to the Youth Services Center

ESU 18 and Lancaster County partner to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Through this agreement, the county agrees that the Youth Services Center will provide appropriate space, time and staff support to assist ESU 18 in providing these services. The county will reimburse ESU 18 for all expenses incurred in providing such services, not to exceed $875,460. The term of the proposed agreement would be Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022.

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the agreement at its next meeting.

Agreement with the Nebraska Department of Education for the Southeast Nebraska Regional Program for Hearing Impaired Students

For more than 20 years, ESU 18 has partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education to plan, coordinate and provide enrichment activities for children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the ESU 4, ESU 5, ESU 6 and ESU 18 geographical areas in southeast Nebraska. It’s recommended this agreement be continued from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023. As part of this agreement, the Nebraska Department of Education agrees to pay ESU 18 up to $634,442 each year for providing these services.

The ESU Board waived the second reading in order to meet the deadline and voted to approve the agreement. 

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.
 
Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing these services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

Lincoln and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the proposed renewal period for this agreement will be Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, ESU 18 would agree to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Posted on June 09, 2021


Highlights of 6/8 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 8, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

You can watch the meeting here.

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp with a formal resolution during the meeting. The Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association recently honored Wieskamp as the Nebraska District I Athletic Director of the Year.

You can view a highlight of the Staff Celebration here.

Athletics Update

LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp presented her department’s annual report to the Board. The core purpose of LPS athletics, she said, is to offer students education-based opportunities to extend the learning experiences outside the classroom. These experiences aid in the overall growth of student-athletes by promoting academic achievement, skill development, life skills and citizenship. The athletic program creates an environment that strives for excellence by encouraging student participation, supporting academic progress and promoting physical, social, emotional and character development while creating a sense of community.

Wieskamp noted that 27 percent of LPS high school students - 22 percent of females, 31 percent of males - participated in athletics during the 2020-21 school year. She also spoke about how LPS athletics adapted and adjusted during the pandemic, as well as how it’s addressing issues of equity and inclusion and what’s offered in the summer to student-athletes.

You can view a highlight of the presentation here.

Sustainability Update

LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin gave the Board an update on the school district’s sustainability efforts, which are guided by the following strategies:

  • Stewardship
  • Instruction
  • Green building design
  • Energy and water
  • Purchasing
  • Transportation
  • Measurement
  • Waste management

Albin shared data that clearly illustrate the benefits of the school’s district’s sustainability work, including the following from 2020:

  • Total pounds recycled: 1,239,743, including 286,408 cardboard products and 333,840 pounds of paper
  • Total pounds reused: 39,234
  • Total pounds to landfill: 1,823,003
  • Diversion rate: 54 percent
  • Total pounds compost: 902,860
  • Radon tests: 1,833
  • Air quality data points: 28,252
  • Water samples taken: 1,343

You can read more about LPS Sustainability, including its work with schools and strategies moving forward, in the 2020 Annual Sustainability Report. The report is available online.

You can view a highlight of the presentation here.

First Reading

Policy Updates

Policy 4780 - Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students

Periodically, the Nebraska Unicameral passes laws that impact school district policies or mandate that local school boards adopt specific language into district policy. When this occurs, staff prepare either new policy language of edited language that complies with these mandates and presents it to the Board for consideration. 

The noted changes to policy 4780 can be found here.

Policy 6000 Series - Instruction

Periodically, a policy series is reviewed in order to address changes in legislation or regulation from the state or federal government, or to bring policy in line with current practice or intent of the Board. During the 2020-21 school year, the 6000 Policy Series was first reviewed by the instructional directors through the lens of equity with an eye both on identifying any policy that potentially disadvantaged any group of students, as well as looking at ways policies could be more inclusive and reflect the school district’s commitment to equity. The Student Learning Committee and Technology Committee then spent significant time reviewing those recommendations and is recommending a number of changes. 

The noted changes to policies in the 6000 series can be found here.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS & ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing services, not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Naming of New High School in Southeast Lincoln

The Board voted to approve that the new high school to be built in southeast Lincoln be named Standing Bear High School.

A committee of 10 community members (Becky Dunder, Halley Kruse, Richard Meginnis, Amanda Morales, Cindy Ryman Yost, Alynn Sampson, Kamryn Sannicks, Deb Schorr, Felecia Welke and Ed Zimmer) and three Board members (Bob Rauner, Lanny Boswell and Don Mayhew) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new high school to be built in south Lincoln near 70th Street and Saltillo Road. Over 200 names were suggested by more than 600 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions and make a recommendation to the Board.

The committee unanimously recommended that the new school be named Standing Bear High School. Standing Bear (1829-1908) was a chief of the Ponca Tribe when the tribe was forcibly removed from its homeland in Nebraska. When Standing Bear returned to Nebraska to bury his son, he was arrested and held for trial. Standing Bear prevailed and was declared a "person" according to law. He and his followers were free to return to their homeland. However, they had no home to return to, as all of the tribe’s land had been taken from them.

The school will open in fall 2023.

U.S. Department of Justice School Violence Prevention Grant Program

The Board voted to approve the LPS submission of the School Violence Prevention Grant application. This program is through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s designed to provide funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds through the following strategies: coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and themselves; placement and use of deterrent equipment; and acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.

LPS utilizes many procedures and systems to ensure the safety of students and staff, including the use of two-way radios for communication within schools. However, replacing this equipment in elementary and middle schools is not currently within budgetary options. The recommended life of these devices is 10-12 years; current projections for their replacement is 20 years.

Also, current equipment used in LPS schools use an analog signal, while a digital signal is much stronger and offers greater communication options and flexibility for staff. This grant provides an opportunity to replace current analog, two-way radios in elementary and middle schools with digital devices over the next three years. A plan is already in place to replace all high school radios.

This $500,000 grant is for 36 months. There is a 25% match requirement, which will be provided through existing district security staff time as in-kind contribution. The grant application is due June 22, 2021.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of homeless children. This program addresses the problems that homeless children face in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. Under this program, state and local educational agencies ensure that homeless children have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education - including a public preschool education - as other children. States and school districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance or success in school.

The LPS homeless outreach coordinator position works with families experiencing homelessness to arrange transportation services for children to attend school. They also work with families to provide other supports that create a more stable environment for children experiencing homelessness. LPS will use funds received through the McKinney-Vento Act to continue to support the salary of the homeless outreach coordinator and to pay transportation costs for homeless children to attend school.  

The Board discussed the submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $53,000, with the final allocation to be determined by the State of Nebraska after submission and dependent upon grants awarded to other applicants. This grant requires a 100 percent match from Title I allocated to LPS. Title I funds have been used in past years to cover the required match.

The Board voted to approve the application. The application is due June 16, 2021.

Proposed 2021-2022 Pay Rates for Substitute and Miscellaneous Employees

The Board approved the 2020-21 pay rates for substitute and miscellaneous employees. The recommended salary increases range from no increase to a 1.00 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions. You can view the approved pay rates here

Public Comment

Seven citizens addressed the Board during the public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the first LPS unified track meet, which was held this spring. Unified sports pairs special education students with intellectual disabilities with their general education classmates in competition together. This was the first year for unified track, which is sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA). It joins bowling as NSAA-sanctioned unified sports. You can watch the video here.


ESU Regular Meeting

The Educational Service Unit 18 Board met after the Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

First Reading

Interlocal Agreement with Lancaster County for Educational Services to the Youth Services Center

ESU 18 and Lancaster County partner to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Through this agreement, the county agrees that the Youth Services Center will provide appropriate space, time and staff support to assist ESU 18 in providing these services. The county will reimburse ESU 18 for all expenses incurred in providing such services, not to exceed $875,460. The term of the proposed agreement would be Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022.

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the agreement at its next meeting.

Agreement with the Nebraska Department of Education for the Southeast Nebraska Regional Program for Hearing Impaired Students

For more than 20 years, ESU 18 has partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education to plan, coordinate and provide enrichment activities for children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the ESU 4, ESU 5, ESU 6 and ESU 18 geographical areas in southeast Nebraska. It’s recommended this agreement be continued from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023. As part of this agreement, the Nebraska Department of Education agrees to pay ESU 18 up to $634,442 each year for providing these services.

The ESU Board waived the second reading in order to meet the deadline and voted to approve the agreement. 

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.
 
Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing these services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

Lincoln and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the proposed renewal period for this agreement will be Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, ESU 18 would agree to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Posted on June 08, 2021


Meeting notices for Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 - June 8, 2021

The following public meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education and Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18 will take place on Tuesday, June 8, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Board of Education Work Session - 4:30 p.m.

Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
(ESU 18 meeting immediately following)

The meetings will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment, recommendation and advice through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District and through many different forms of community engagement.

The following will help guide the Public Comment agenda item at Board Meetings and Public Hearings:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board chair to the location identified for such purpose.
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A “Record of Appearance” card is provided for this purpose.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media.

If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

 

Posted on June 04, 2021


Required training for suicide awareness/prevention now available

Training is now available for all Lincoln Public Schools employee groups required to take the annual suicide awareness/prevention training as required by the law passed by the Nebraska State Legislature in 2014. The deadline for completing the training is the end of the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year (Oct. 18, 2021). Unlike previous years, you can now complete this training in the summer if you choose. 

PLEASE NOTE:

The link to access the training can be found here. You will need to register to create an account. After you have registered, please choose the “one hour courses” option. Then choose the “Childhood and Teen Depression for Educators” course. 

Please note, fast forwarding or placing it as a tab in the background may prevent you from earning credit. This training is provided by the Jason Foundation. The training module looks at depression in children and teens. Childhood and teen depression differs greatly from adult depression in many aspects. Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts. 

Those required to take the training are: teachers, administrators, counselors, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, Gifted Mentors, Youth Development Team members, Campus Security, Early Childhood Student Parent Advocates, and para educators including SEMs. Any employee who is not required to take the training, including substitutes, can still take it if they choose to do so.

At the end of the training, you will receive a confirmation of completion email. Please forward that message to whomever will be your principal/supervisor or to the individual designated in your location/department for the 2021-22 school year.

Thank you for your continued work and dedication toward making Lincoln Public Schools a safe and welcoming place for the students of our community.

Contact Russ Uhing at ruhing@lps.org or 402-436-1650 if you have any questions.

Posted on June 04, 2021


Bay High Focus Program announcement

The Bay, a program of the nonprofit Rabble Mill, known for its unique approach to serving underserved youth, is partnering with Lincoln Public Schools and businesses to create the Bay High Focus Program, set to start classes in fall 2022. Beginning with a student body of approximately 100 high school juniors and seniors, Bay High will provide creative, entrepreneurial-minded students with the tools, access and stewardship to be successful creators of tomorrow.

“We believe young people can only dream as big as they’ve seen. By fully leveraging our partners’ strengths, Bay High will provide the experiences, skills and network they need to not just gain a seat at the table, but to be ready for it,” said Mike Smith, co-founder/co-executive director of Rabble Mill, and founder of The Bay.

Bay High aims to provide students who are restricted by a lack of access, lack of opportunity and the confines of traditional education the skills they need for post-secondary education and a career.

“The community and the Lincoln Board of Education have tasked our staff with exploring more focus program offerings for our high school students,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We feel the Bay High Focus Program is just one more avenue to engage another segment of our students and prepare them for tomorrow’s high-demand careers.”

Bay High’s curriculum focus will be on content creation and emerging digital technology in four subject areas: including photography and videography, coding and development, design and digital asset creation and digital storytelling and podcasting. It will be rooted in hands-on, project-based initiatives that go beyond the classroom —reflecting the increasing demand for creativity in today’s business environment, as well as new innovative ways of learning that connect best with Gen Z. In line with The Bay’s engagement opportunities for young people, skateboarding, music and fashion will serve as associated creative disciplines.

“Our goal is to pipeline young people at The Bay who have this digital talent, and the business partners and college programs who need it, such as UNL’s Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts and J-School,” said Andrew Norman, Rabble Mill co-founder/co-executive director. He said Rabble Mill is currently fundraising for necessary space renovations at The Bay, as well as seeking additional community partners.

The Bay will “inspire learning in ways never before experienced in Lincoln Public Schools,” said LPS Director of Strategic Initiatives and Focus Programs James Blake, who also will serve as principal of Bay High. “Great things happen when we find out what Lincoln businesses look for in future talent, and then bring in amazing teachers to co-create the vision with The Bay’s resources and staff.”

About 25 years after helping to seed what became the first LPS focus program, Cooper Foundation joined ALLO/Nelnet and Spreetail to provide the private investment necessary to launch Bay High. Additional partners include Ameritas, Archrival, BVH Architecture, Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, CompanyCam, The Skatepark Project, Union Bank & Trust, Woods Charitable Fund, and WRK Family Foundation.

“We believe in Rabble Mill and its revolutionary approach to working with young people that includes friendship, belonging and opportunities to grow personally and learn skills that leverage their own experiences, viewpoints and innate talents,” said Cooper Foundation President Victoria Grasso. “Bay High, in partnership with Lincoln Public Schools, will carry that same creative ethos with a dynamic curriculum.”

Students who will be entering grades 11 and 12 during the 2022-23 school year will be able to submit their application during the 2021-22 school year.

“This is the most diverse, colorful, empowered generation ever. We’re excited to share and nurture their unique style, passions and talent through Bay High,” said Smith.

“Kids used to skip school to come to The Bay. Now they’ll just come to Bay High.”

To learn more, donate, or (for potential students, teachers and parents) be notified about recruitment opportunities, visit
thebay.org/BayHigh.

ABOUT THE BAY: The Bay is a program of Rabble Mill (501c3), whose mission is to work with Nebraska youth statewide toward achieving the belonging, purpose and upward mobility necessary to grow, achieve and reinvest in their community. Located at 2005 Y St. since 2012, The Bay is a one-of-a-kind community space, featuring the state’s only public indoor skatepark, an all-ages music venue, digital art lab and Goldenrod Coffee. Through out-of-school enrichment, camps, events and more, The Bay creates opportunities for young people to fall in love with skateboarding, music and digital art, teaching transferable soft and hard skills along the way.

Posted on May 19, 2021


Nebraska Food Service Employee Appreciation Day

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts stopped by Hartley Elementary School to proclaim May 12 as Nebraska Food Service Employee Appreciation Day! He also presented retiring Director of Nutrition Services Edith Zumwalt with an honorary admiralship in the Nebraska Navy.

 

 

Posted on May 12, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 27, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for its regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required for all staff, students and visitors to enter buildings at Lincoln Public Schools. If you would like to make a request to have an exemption to the face covering requirement to attend a Lincoln Board of Education meeting because of a medical or mental health condition, please contact the District 504 coordinator, Mr. Russ Uhing, Director of Student Services and 504 Coordinator, 5905 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510, (402) 436-1650, or duhing@lps.org.  

You will be required to share documentation of your medical or mental health condition that describes the conditions requiring the exemption at least two business days prior to the event, so we can engage in an interactive process to determine what if any accommodations may be provided.  

You can watch the board meeting via livestream in several ways:

Posted on April 26, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 13, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for its regular board meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required for all staff, students and visitors to enter buildings at Lincoln Public Schools. If you would like to make a request to have an exemption to the face covering requirement to attend a Lincoln Board of Education meeting because of a medical or mental health condition, please contact the District 504 coordinator, Mr. Russ Uhing, Director of Student Services and 504 Coordinator, 5905 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510, (402) 436-1650, or duhing@lps.org.  

You will be required to share documentation of your medical or mental health condition that describes the conditions requiring the exemption at least two business days prior to the event, so we can engage in an interactive process to determine what if any accommodations may be provided.  

You can watch the board meeting via livestream in several ways:

Posted on April 09, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education work session - April 7, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a special work session on Wednesday, April 7, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The purpose of the work session was to provide an update to the Board on the 2020-21 Board of Education and Superintendent’s annual goals and priorities around equity. 

Presenters included:

  • Vann Price
  • Oscar Rios Pohirieth
  • Antwan Wilson
  • Walter Powell Jr.
  • Sarah Salem
  • Pete Ferguson
  • Deseree Chavez 
  • Andrea Orozco Lopez
  • Zein Saleh
  • Eiman Nour

 

Posted on April 07, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Special Meeting/Work Session - April 7, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for a special meeting and work session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

The purpose of the special meeting and work session is to provide an update to the Board on the 2020-21 Board of Education and Superintendent’s annual goals and priorities around equity.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required for all staff, students and visitors to enter buildings at Lincoln Public Schools. If you would like to make a request to have an exemption to the face covering requirement to attend a Lincoln Board of Education meeting because of a medical or mental health condition, please contact the District 504 coordinator, Mr. Russ Uhing, Director of Student Services and 504 Coordinator, 5905 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510, (402) 436-1650, or duhing@lps.org.  

You will be required to share documentation of your medical or mental health condition that describes the conditions requiring the exemption at least two business days prior to the event, so we can engage in an interactive process to determine what if any accommodations may be provided.  

You can watch the Board special meeting and work session via livestream in two ways:

Posted on April 05, 2021


New principal announced at Yankee Hill Education Center

Lincoln Public Schools is pleased to announce that Laura Runge will be the next principal at Yankee Hill Education Center beginning next year. Runge currently serves as the associate principal at Lincoln Southwest High School and will replace Erik Witt, who will be moving to the LPS Human Resources Department as the next supervisor for special programs and recruiting coordinator.

Runge brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her 32 years in education. She taught special education from 1989 to 2012 in various schools, including Belmont Elementary School, Culler Middle School and Lincoln East High School. In addition, she served as assistant special education coordinator at Lincoln North Star High School from 2012 to 2013 and special education coordinator at Lefler Middle School from 2013 to 2018. Runge has worked with many Yankee Hill students and staff through her current role at Southwest High School, where she has served as associate principal since 2018. 

Runge earned her Bachelor of Science in Special Education and a Master of Education with an emphasis in Behavioral Disorders from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Doane College.
 
Congratulations to Laura Runge!

Posted on April 01, 2021


Highlights of 3/23 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, March 23, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized two staff members with formal resolutions for awards they recently received. The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association has honored Lincoln Public Schools Supervisor of Music Lance Nielsen with its 2021 Outstanding Administrator Award. The Nebraska State Literacy Association honored Kooser Elementary School Librarian Betsy Thomas with the 2021 Distinguished Educator Award.

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Steve Joel gave a brief pandemic update:

  • Most LPS staff who have signed up for the vaccine have already received their first dose, with some also receiving their second dose. There were also staff who received their only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • LPS continues to work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to monitor community conditions, especially with news of several variants being detected in Nebraska. Adjustments will be made as needed to address any concerns.
  • There are just under 6,000 students still participating in remote learning across the school district. 

First Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Camping World Lincoln, Annexation Ordinance #21028, for the 2020-21 school year and its assigned schools are Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School.

The Board will vote on the proposed attendance centers at its next meeting.

Bond Fund Project Bids

The Board was presented with the following construction project bids for the two new high school sites and will vote on them at its next meeting. All of the bids were either the lowest in cost or the only bid submitted. The projects are being paid for through the Bond Fund, approved by voters in February 2020.

  • New High School Sites Topsoil Respread Package - Gana Trucking & Excavating, Inc. (Martell, Nebraska) - $1,189,120
  • New SE High School Site Concrete Paving Package - Concrete Works, Inc. (Milford, Nebraska) - $1,847,627
  • New NW High School Site Permeable Pavers Package - DMS, Inc. (Waterloo, Nebraska) - $173,050
  • New SE High School Site Geothermal Well Field Package - K2 Construction (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,292,000
  • New NW High School Site Landscaping Package - Jensen Gardens (Springfield, Nebraska) - $665,586
  • New SE High School Site Surveying Package - Catlett Surveying (Bennett, Nebraska)                                            $20,050
  • New SE High School Site Access Package - Hausmann Construction, (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $218,000
  • New SE High School Site Segmented Block Retaining Walls Package - Linhart Construction, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $38,680
  • New High School Sites Finish Carpentry Labor Package - Tim’s Custom Trim, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $481,730
  • New High School Sites Solid Surfacing Package - Lycos Manufacturing (Omaha, Nebraska) - $348,200
  • New SE High School Site Geofoam Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $297,000
  • New High School Sites EDPM Roofing Systems Package - White Castle Roofing (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $3,066,600
  • New SE High School Site Cast-in-Place Foundations & Walls Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $4,584,600
  • New High School Sites Stainless Steel Railing Systems Package - Geiss Steel Tech, Inc. (Seward, Nebraska) - $961,800
  • New High School Sites Aluminum Railings Package - Glass Edge (Lincoln, Nebraska) -                                         $109,560
  • New High School Sites Air Barrier & Spray Foam Insulation Package - Seal-Rite Insulation, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $621,253
  • New NW High School Site Fine Grading & Seeding Package - Seeds of Life, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $191,600
  • New SE High School Site Aluminum & Glazing Package - Glass Edge (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,191,300
  • New SE High School Site Utilities Package - HR Bookstrom Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,107,365
  • New High School Sites Steel Railings Package - Katelman Steel Fabrication, Inc. (Council Bluffs, Iowa) - $369,200
  • New High School Sites Green Roof Package - Jensen Gardens, Inc. (Springfield, Nebraska) - $87,224
  • New High School Sites Carpet, Linoleum & Resilient Flooring Package - Midwest Floor Covering, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,646,252
  • New High School Sites Gymnasium Wood Flooring Package - H2I Group (Blair, Nebraska) - $418,740
  • New High School Sites Polished & Sealed Concrete Package - Surface Sealers, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $157,851
  • New High School Sites Floor & Wall Tile Package - Midwest Floor Covering (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,108,000
  • New High School Sites Painting & Wallcoverings Package - Kucera Painting, Inc. (Kearney, Nebraska) - $909,667
  • New High School Sites Overhead & Side Folding Doors Package
    • Acme Dock Specialists (Omaha, Nebraska) - $277,300
    • Skold (Des Moines, Iowa) - $161,400
    • SGH Concepts (Omaha, Nebraska) - $146,760
    • Overhead Door Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) -  $135,840
      Total: $721,300
  • New High School Sites Acoustical Fire & Smoke Doors Package - Skold Door Company (Des Moines, Iowa) - $161,400
  • New High School Sites Specialties Supply Package - EPCO LTD (Council Bluffs, Iowa) and PTC (Omaha, Nebraska) - $336,682
  • New High School Sites High Speed Rolling Doors Package - Acme Dock Specialists (Omaha, Nebraska) - $279,800
  • New SE High School Site Curb Stops & Signage - Bestco Services (Lincoln, Nebraska) -               $14,740
  • New High School Sites Scoreboards Package - H2I Group (Blair, Nebraska) - $60,900
  • New High School Sites Laboratory Countertops & Equipment Package - Wynn O Jones Associates, Inc. (Schofield Wisconsin) - $334,831
  • New High School Sites Fixed Audience Seating Package - Heartland Seating, Inc. (Shawnee, Kansas) - $232,981
  • New High School Sites Telescoping & Fixed Bleachers Package - Mid-States School Equipment Co. (Lee’s Summit, Missouri) - $554,130
  • New High School Sites Window Shades Package - Lifestyle Window Coverings (Omaha, Nebraska) - $93,866
  • New High School Sites Swimming Pool Construction Package - New Wave Pools & Spas, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $2,938,460
  • New High School Sites Fire Suppression Package - Midwest Automatic Fire Sprinkler Co. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $883,880
  • New NW High School Site Plumbing Package - HEP, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $4,576,850
  • New High School Sites Ceilings & Acoustical Components Package - E&K of Omaha, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $2,189,430
  • New High School Sites Termite Control Package - ABC Termite & Pest Control (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $33,422
  • New High School Sites Combined Rough Carpentry Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,230,000
  • New SE High School Paving Sealants Package - Stutzman Sealants & Sons LLC (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $75,000
  • New High School Sites Overhead & Counter Doors & Grilles Package - Overhead Door Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $135,840

Distribution Center construction bid

Bids were requested for an LPS Distribution Center roofing repair project. It was recommended that the lowest bid of $598,800, from Terry Neemann & Sons, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska), be approved. The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the bid.

Second Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Wandering Creek Site, Annexation Ordinance #21023, for the 2020-21 school year and its assigned schools are Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School.

The Board voted to approve the assigned attendance centers.

Proposed Negotiated Agreement with the Lincoln Education Association

The Board voted to approve a contract agreement between the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools for the 2021-22 school year. 

The agreement represents a careful balance between recognizing the valuable contributions our teachers make for Lincoln Public Schools - especially as front-line workers during a pandemic - while also acknowledging the recent revenue decline including a significant drop in state aid.   

The agreement approved by a vote of LEA members provides a total compensation package increase of 1.53 percent for the 2021-22 school year. The agreement includes the district’s contribution for increases with health insurance, retirement, Social Security and step movement (approximately $500 to $1,800) for certificated staff. The agreement also includes a reduction in the 191-day teacher calendar by two professional development/teacher work days, and a reduction in the Extra Standard budget (for activities and athletics).

From Board Committees

Wellness, American Civics and Multicultural Committee

Committee Chair Annie Mumgaard reported there were many updates shared, including:

  • How the school district was addressing the impact of the pandemic on different areas
  • Voter registration activities in high schools
  • Updating the name of Heritage School to the building’s historical name of Cunningham School to better reflect the experience for all students

Update from the Superintendent

During the Superintendent Update, Joel spoke that we are thankful for many things and it is an important time to reflect. Some of those items on the gratitude list included the Lincoln Education Association and its work on the negotiated agreement; the custodians and maintenance crews for their dedication and hours spent making sure our schools and buildings were safe during recent winter storms; and for Lincoln Journal Star reporter Margaret Reist and her dedication and commitment to sharing information about the work taking place at LPS. Reist will be moving to a different assignment and will no longer be regularly covering education stories for the Journal Star. 

Public Comment

There was one member of the public that spoke during the first Public Comment period, and one member of the public that spoke during the second Public Comment period. You can watch the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the Graduation Pathways program, which gives former students an alternate way of attending school again and earning their diploma. 

LPS LIVE Board Update

On LPS LIVE Board Update, Board Member Don Mayhew sits down with LPS Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp to discuss the ongoing construction projects funded by the bond issue approved by voters in February 2020.

Posted on March 23, 2021


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