LPS Board Of Education Talk Budget, Superintendent Raise

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Twenty-five thousand dollars to one school official, it's one topic the Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education touched on in Tuesday's meeting.

It's one of two contracts relating to how much Superintendent Steve Joel will make in the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.

The comments were brief, as this was only the first reading for Joel's three year contract and the one-time contract that would contribute $25,000 to his retirement.

Board member Don Mayhew introduced this proposal. He said Joel was hired on at a less competitive salary and told he could earn more over time. He said this amount is aimed to keep Joel around by earning a more competitive amount.

In the three year contract, Joel would get a 3.95 percent raise. That's the same as teachers get for a raise. Mayhew said Joel hasn't wanted to get a larger raise than the teacher receive.

"I'm very supportive of the contract, but I am not supportive of the additional compensation because I believe we need to continue this feeling of teamwork," said board member Barbara Baier.

"We have a superior superintendent who we've been getting at a bargain. And here we have the opportunity to offer him some compensation that will be competitive," said Mayhew.

The board provided a summary of Joel's annual evaluation, but they aren't releasing the actual evaluations. The summary said the board had positive comments about Joel's performance in passing the bond, attracting and hiring staff, and in reaching the district's goals.

This $25,000 is separate from the employment contract because it is a one-time amount. If it is approved by the board, the money would be included in next year's budget in the personnel spending. The board talked about the budget in an earlier meeting Tuesday.

Here are some key points on this preliminary budget: The total amount is about $363 million dollars - that's a 5.13 percent increase over last year's budget. Even though there's an increase, the tax levy will stay flat- that means you pay no more in taxes. LPS said one factor in the budget increase is a growth in the number of students they'll serve. Again, this is only the preliminary budget so there will still be changes.

You can participate in the budget process through work sessions and budget forums the dates and times are listed in the sidebar of this story.