Lincoln Public Schools breaks down its preliminary 2022-23 budget

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Public Schools said it needs to bump up its budget, and do so by a margin bigger than usual. The district said the increases in the nearly $500 million budget are being sent to areas that have been waiting for money since the beginning of the pandemic.

A large amount of the budget will be going to pay staff more money. LPS said that was their biggest focus after a significant drop in state aid and financial uncertainty during the pandemic.

“It was really important that this year we do that hard work and look at the market, and look at what we can do to recognize our staff, and can advance their salary and benefits increase moving forward to next year,” Liz Standish, associate superintendent for business affairs, said.

Lincoln Public Schools, along with schools all over the country have had a hard time retaining staff. At the end of the school year, at least 142 teachers had announced their resignations.

The 2022-2023 budget proposes a salary and benefit increase of 4.11 percent, about $19 million total.

“This budget really recognizes the needs of our school district moving forward,” Standish said.

The almost-half-a-billion dollar budget is 5 percent higher than last year but only 2.3 percent higher compared to 2019-2020.

The district says it’s fixing gaps that couldn’t be filled during the pandemic when revenue and enrollment dropped. It’s also taking a 23 percent hit in state aid.

More than $300,000 will go to new high school athletics.

“This budget has a little over $200,000 to begin bowling, and then it has about $130,000 to add girls wrestling to our athletics at Lincoln Public Schools,” Standish said.

$3.7 million is being allocated for the new schools opening this fall: Lincoln Northwest High School and Ada Robinson Elementary.

“When we’re building a new school budget, we’re looking at who are the teachers that are needed in that facility, what are the supplies needed in that facility,” Standish said.

There will be budget forums Thursday at noon and 5 p.m., one in-person and one virtually.

There will be two budget forums - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In-person forum: Thursday, June 30, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 30, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

This budget does not increase the tax levy.

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