Proposed LPS budget aims to fund new sports, better salaries

LPS said it’s making a point to invest in students and staff, and it’s even possible that school could see new athletics.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Throughout the pandemic, Lincoln Public Schools hasn’t seen much in the way of new money. But with its upcoming budget, that could change.

LPS said it’s making a point to invest in students and staff and it’s even possible that schools could see new athletics.

The 2022-2023 budget has been in the works since February and comes in a little under $500 million. LPS said the focus is on staff salary and better benefits, as well as funding three new sports including girls wrestling along with boys and girls bowling.

Kathy Danek, who chairs the district’s Board of Education Finance Committee, said last year she was approached about adding those sports at the high school level.

“There wasn’t time to make those adjustments and we told them we would work we made some thoughtful movement within our budget to make sure that we could put those things in for students,” Danek said.

This year, the board has set aside about $341,000 to bring these sports to all seven high schools. In addition, Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish said with revenue now streaming back into the district, it’s in a better place to tackle an ongoing labor shortage.

“There was a significant commitment and the majority of the growth has been that salary and benefit increase,” Standish said. “A significant part of this budget did focus on opening new schools this fall we opened both Lincoln Northwest and Robinson Elementary School.”

As far as proposed property taxes, home owners could see a lower tax levy by over one-third of a penny.

“We only spend what we need,” Danek said. “We don’t ever spend more than what we need. So, we generally generally review the needs of students and staff and try to make sure that we’re asking the taxpayers to fund the needs for the students and staff.”