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.

Published: September 28, 2021, Updated: September 29, 2021