Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: Dec. 17, 2018

  1. Semester close

The last day of classes at Lincoln Public Schools for first semester, 2018-19 falls on Thursday, Dec. 20 – and second semester begins on Monday, Jan. 7.

2. Preliminary 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan – For more information: Liz Standish,

The Lincoln Board of Education started to set the stage for a potential future Lincoln Public Schools 2020 bond issue with the recent presentation of preliminary facility priorities that could include new elementary school space in every quadrant of the city, a new middle school in south Lincoln, some sort of high school solution, a new athletics/activities complex, as well as renovations and infrastructure updates to current schools throughout the community.

The 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure plan is updated consistently by LPS officials and the Board, identifying priority projects for the school district – and the latest preliminary update was presented at a Board work session Tuesday afternoon. The preliminary Facilities Plan will now go to the newly formed Superintendent’s Facilities Advisory Committee, which convenes in January to study and analyze facility needs for LPS.  At the end of their work – late summer or early fall 2019 – they will submit recommended top facility needs for final consideration by the superintendent and Board of Education. LPS Superintendent Steve Joel has announced the three community members who will lead the new Advisory Committee: Jennifer Brinkman, Lancaster County Commissioner; Nick Cusick, president of Bison, Inc.; and Maribel Cruz, senior leadership consultant for Talent Plus.

The 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan is organized into three tiers, with Tier 1 signifying what staff believe are the highest priority projects – a tier that includes more than $387 million in identified needs.  All three tiers add up to a total of $640 million in LPS facility needs. “I want to stress, we will never come close to covering all our needs in the next bond issue,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations at LPS.  “As always, we will have to choose only the very highest needs we have.” 

3. Tentative agreement for 2019-21 salary packages – For more information: Eric Weber,

The Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools have reached a tentative agreement with teachers for a two-year contract covering the 2019-20 and 2020-2021 school years in a proposal presented to the Lincoln Board of Education.

This proposal represents a well-rounded salary package: Honoring the essential and respected role our teachers have in a school district of excellence, as well as recognizing we must continue to serve as competent stewards of taxpayer funds, according to Steve Joel, superintendent of LPS; Rita Bennett, president of the LEA; and Connie Duncan, president of the Lincoln Board of Education.  The proposed agreement covers about 3,650 LPS employees who are teachers, librarians, nurses, social workers, counselors, school psychologists, speech language pathologists and early childhood and home-based teachers.

The 2019-2020 tentative agreement – voted on and overwhelmingly approved by LEA membership – provides a total compensation package increase of 3.04 percent for the 2019-20 school year, and a total compensation package increase of 2.69 percent for the 2020-21 school year,

The Lincoln Board of Education will take final action on the tentative agreement on Jan. 8.

4. LPS recycling efforts honored – For more information: Brittney Albin,

Lincoln Public Schools has been recycling since 1998 and in that time has diverted more than 21 million pounds of material from the landfill. Recently, LPS added another impressive number to its recycling resume: 50, which is the number of schools the City of Lincoln honored through its Recycle Lincoln Leadership Recognition Program, according to an announcement from Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler during a special event at Pound Middle School.

All LPS schools have been recycling since 2002. In addition to recycling, the LPS cafeteria composting program was piloted in three schools in 2014 and is now implemented in 49 schools. Since the program began, more than 2.7 million pounds of organic material has been composted instead of hauled to the landfill.

The city awarded three schools the Gold-level distinction, 31 schools, the Silver-level designations and 14 schools, the Bronze-level.

5. Check out a new LPS webpage – For more information: Jason Keese,

Check out our new webpage, “Inside the Classroom,” with stories, photos and videos that highlight teaching and learning inside the classroom at LPS,