Highlights: 8/23 Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. 

First reading

Policy 6443 - Parental and Family Engagement

Each year the Board of Education is required to review Policy 6443, hold a public hearing, and approve the policy. 

All parents and family members of all students are welcomed and encouraged to become involved with their child’s school and education. Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson outlined just some of the ways LPS engages with parents and families throughout the school year. Those include Community Curriculum Council, School Improvement Teams, Special Education Networking Program, Family Literacy Program, Title I Programs, Native American Advisory Council, Community Learning Centers School Neighborhood Advisory Committees, Early Childhood Program, and as necessary special meetings are scheduled throughout different groups.

No person spoke during the public hearing about Policy 6443. The Board will hold a second reading and vote to reaffirm the policy at the next meeting.

Policy 6450 - Controversial Issues Policy

At the request of a parent, Policy 6450 was reviewed by staff and proposed modifications that were presented to the Student Learning and Technology Committee. The committee made a recommendation to the Board to modify language that clarified the current policy. Those changes included changing “Teachers should notify parents” to “Teachers will notify parents”, and “Notification will be far enough in advance that teachers can provide students alternative learning activities if the students and/or the student’s parents object to the controversial issue being studied and wish to opt-out of a specific component of the curriculum.”

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

2022-2023 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 direction to LPS staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies.  

The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the legislative guidelines at the next meeting.

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend.

The proposal assigns the newly annexed area of Grandview Estates 2nd Addition to  Wysong Elementary School, Moore Middle School and East High School.

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

The Career Academy first amended and restated interlocal agreement

In 2013, LPS entered into a partnership with Southeast Community College to create The Career Academy. From time to time, amendments to the original agreement are proposed to align with TCA’s current practices and procedures.

Changes to the latest amendment include better defining some of the terms, and clearly identifying financial responsibilities.

The Board will bring the agreement back for a second reading and vote at the next meeting.

2022-23 insurance rates

LPS 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. LPS works through consulting and brokerage firm Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) Company and UNICO. 

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the insurance rates.

Full-Service Community Schools Grant Program

Lincoln Public Schools is developing a proposal in response to the U.S. Department of Education requesting applications for the Full-Service Community Schools Grant Program.  Existing Community Learning Center partners will be embraced in the planning process that is required in the first year of the program, as well as in the administration and implementation of the entire five-year program. Program services must include academic, non-academic, health, mental health, and other strategies to support the needs of students, families, and community residents.

Grant funds will support a broad range of items including a required full-time coordinator at each school, a full-time navigator to work with school nurses to identify and assist students and families without health care coverage or a medical home to secure these services in the community, expanded community-based contracts for school-based therapy during non-school hours, and other expanded school-based services during non-school and summer hours.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the grant application.

Second reading

CLC agreements

Each year, the Board reviews agreements with community agencies to run Community Learning Centers (CLCs) at schools where the programming is located. The following agreements for a total of $1,820,640 were put before the Board for consideration:

  • Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln-Lancaster County: $138,830
  • Cedars Youth Services: $156,800
  • Civic Nebraska: $193,454
  • Lincoln Housing Authority: $39,240
  • Willard Community Center: $38,548
  • YMCA of Lincoln: $207,177
  • Northeast Family Center: $111,760
  • Family Service Association of Lincoln: $568,536
  • Malone Community Center: $87,400
  • Lincoln Parks & Recreation: $278,895

CLCs provide high-quality academic and enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children. These clubs offer a variety of activities that complement and amplify what is taught in school, and encourage community and parent engagement for the success of the children.

The Board voted to approve the agreements.

Interlocal Cooperation Act agreement for school resource officers and threat assessment officer

Every year, LPS reviews an agreement with the City of Lincoln to fund school resource officers and a threat assessment officer as part of the Safe and Successful Kids Interlocal Agreement. This year one more officer will be added with the opening of Northwest High School. The 13 SROs are assigned to LPS middle and high schools, and the threat assessment officer is assigned to the school district. The officers help with the education of students, assist staff and facilitate communication between LPS and LPD. SROs take appropriate law enforcement action when situations arise requiring the exercise of police authority.

The total expenditure is $602,595.90. This is a 4.95 percent increase from last year.

The Board voted 4-1 to approve the agreement.

Informational items and reports

Board Committees

Board Finance Committee

The Board Finance Committee reported that the 2022-2023 Proposed Budget Book is now available on the LPS website for public review. 

Wellness, American Civics, Multicultural Committee

The committee met earlier in the evening to hold the required public hearing on the American Civics curriculum. Staff gave an update on the curriculum and any person interested in learning more can go to the LPS website.

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Paul Gausman spoke to the professionalism of all of the LPS staff as he has been touring around the school district. 

Prior to Public Comment, Gausman addressed some information circulating about a staff learning session.

“It has been reliably reported to me by several staff members that the speaker did not say the quote attributed to him. However, given that there still seems to be some disagreement about what was actually said, I will be looking into this further and try to get a sense of what some staff members feel they heard,” said Gausman.

He added, “I firmly believe that our staff members are trained professionals dedicated to doing what's best for kids. Being new to Lincoln Public Schools, this is an opportunity for me to review our practices when choosing presenters. If we are going to be true to our mission of ‘all means all,’ we may need to consider our speakers through a wider lens. There is always room for us to do better.”

Gausman went on to say that LPS is legally and morally obligated to provide appropriate training to staff to ensure that all students have access to programs and activities free from harassment, bullying, and exclusion. 

Gausman added, “LPS does NOT condone, support or promote sexual activity among our students. However, we are also parents and don't want anybody's children engaging in risky or inappropriate behaviors. Therefore, we do our best to ensure that any content for students and staff will be appropriate and in line with our policies and curriculum. If we find that an invited speaker is not in-line, they will not be invited back.

“We believe school staff members must recognize the importance of the parent/child relationship and the right of the parent to make decisions for their minor child. Parents know what's best for their children, and our strongest desire is to partner with parents and guardians in providing their children with the best and most appropriate educational opportunities,” said Gausman.

Public comment

There were 25 individuals that addressed the Board during public comment. You can watch the public comments in the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights Lincoln Public Schools. Tuesday’s video featured highlights from the first week of school. 

Published: August 23, 2022, Updated: August 24, 2022