Committee plans for LPS growth needs - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Committee plans for LPS growth needs

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By: Brittany Paris

This year alone, about 1,000 new students are at LPS. A special committee has some ideas on how to prepare for the next 10 years.

The Superintendent's Facility Advisory Committee has put together a plan they believe will meet the needs of Lincoln Public Schools over the next decade.

LPS is a growing school district, increasing, on average, 500 to 600 kids a year. That's about the size of an elementary school.

"This is all about the kids. It's all about kids in the community and people want to make sure that this is something bigger than just buildings. And they want to make sure that what goes on in those buildings is really important to the kids and the community," Keith Prettyman, the committee's co-chair, said.

The committee broke down into groups to pick the school district's top priorities: technology, security, facilities and infrastructure, as well as student services.

Then there's the Career Academy, which would be a partnership with SCC. The group thinks it should be fully funded.

The challenge? Coming up with the $12 million to do it.

They said it'll give students more opportunities for post-high school experiences.

"To try to keep the kids engaged in education as long as possible," one of the subcommittee members said. "Some of them check out way early and we're trying to get them to stay longer."

The Career Academy would postpone the need for another high school, saving about $40 million.

And money is something the committee has considered, estimating their entire plan would cost between $130 and $140 million.

But Prettyman said they hope to fund it without having any increase to tax payers.

"This is going to be a very, very, big piece for us," Superintendent Steve Joel said. "And there's some things in here, some recommendations in here that will be game changers for a lot of kids and the community as a whole."

The next step for the committee is to formally present the plan to Superintendent Joel on September 10 in a board meeting.

Once changes are made and a final plan is approved, which should be in the next few weeks, you can take a look at it on LPS's website. 


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