LPS Board talks school security - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

LPS Board talks school security

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By: Bill Schammert

In the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook shootings, school districts across the country are discussing how to improve security, and Lincoln Public Schools is no different.

Now, the city is looking to ease the financial burden.

"We don't have any levy capacity and we don't have the ability to put it in the budget without making adjustments," Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel said. "But the city seems to be committed to moving this plan forward."

Since 2004, LPS has eliminated school resource officers at the elementary and middle school levels due to budgetary concerns.  Currently there are officers at each of the six public high schools.

In a letter, the city and the mayor have reached out to the district, saying they want to have a broad discussion about what can be done.

"We'll work closely with the police department, we'll seek their advice," board president Dr. Ed Zimmer said. "We'll see what we're each able to bring to the table and if we can do more, we'd be glad to do more."

Tuesday night was the first board meeting since the tragic shootings in Newton, Conn., and superintendent, Dr. Steve Joel, says school safety needs to be a top priority.

"It's always been schools should be open, they should be accommodating," Dr. Joel said. "We've encouraged engagement and open door policies, but I have a sense that Newtown is changing the thinking."

Another possibility is legislative action as the 2013 session starts on Wednesday.

"At the state level, at the city level, at the school district level, we'll talk to each other and see what we can do," Dr. Zimmer said.

The school board made no action on Tuesday, but expects to meet about security in a closed session at the next meeting.

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