Lincoln Public Schools outline pandemic spending

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 8:08 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 11:52 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - According to documents 10/11 NOW received Lincoln Public Schools, the district has spent nearly $1.4 million in pandemic funds. Records show half of it is specifically for remote learning. Chief Technology Officer at LPS Kirk Langer said the district has been preparing for years for advancements in technology.

“We’ve really kind of been at this gearing up for having technology being integral rather than being something were just integrating for the past five to six years,” Langer said. Officials said all students grades two through 12 had Chromebooks, but those who didn’t have one were likely getting some hand-me-downs.

“We were actually able to cover our need for kindergarten and first grade as well as for substitutes and para-educators with existing devices that had one more year of useful life in them,” Langer said.

As more Chromebooks are going home, LPS officials said they needed to invest in bags for them. LPS data shows 48% of remote learning funds were for headphones, learning packets, document cameras, and hotspots. The other 52% were for Chromebook bags and straps.

“We had to invest in some protective bags K through five in the event where we would go into a situation where students were learning remotely, they would have a protective bag,” Langer said. Expenses the district expects to have long term benefits.

“It’s not going to be an expense ultimately for COVID,” Langer said. “Those bags will be good for their regular life cycle which is three to four years.”

LPS is also spending $80,000 to get over a thousand hotspots so those at home who don’t have access to WiFi can still choose remote learning. Officials said they are using some overtime for personnel to deal with any specific issues, but said they’re not significantly expanding the budget to handle them.

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