LPS considering new elementary, middle schools

LINCOLN, Neb. As Lincoln Public Schools continues to grow classrooms are filling up across the city at all grade levels.

Thursday night, parents in the northwest Lincoln area got their first look at plans to alleviate overcrowding at the middle and elementary levels.

This is all part of the Superintendent's Facility Advisory Committee.

The goal is to get schools to 80-to-90 percent capacity. Many of the middle and elementary schools in northwest Lincoln are being used at 100-percent or above, which means changes need to be made.

This was the first of three meetings to address overcrowding issues in Lincoln’s middle & elementary schools.

"Northwest Lincoln has some unique challenges because of the airport, the 2 interstates,Highway 34, and the flood area with the watershed,” said Seth Derner, who is a member of the committee.

Only a handful of parents showed up to talk about overcrowding in the area's middle & elementary schools.

"Having a voice I feel is important,” said Jamie Scott, who is an LPS parent. “When you come here you get a lot more information than just an email. You bounce a lot of ideas off each other and you can hear things from other parents that you didn't think of."

The Superintendent’s Facilities Advisory Committee currently has three possible plans.

The first includes a new 5th - 8th grade middle school and 7-10 years later a new elementary school.

The second requires something else, a new high school. The district would build a new elementary school and move 9th grade students from Schoo and Goodrich to that new high school in northwest Lincoln.

The third option is a new kindergarten through 8th grade school, the first of its kind in Lincoln.

Parents agree that something needs to be done.

"They can hear what the community wants” said Coco Cunningham. “Thinks is important for their own children. We also had a student who came and gave her input so it’s nice to hear what an actual student feels about this."

The committee hopes to have a finalized idea ready for the district by June.

"What we have now is not going to be enough to be able to meet the number of kids that we have in the future,” said Derner. “It’s just trying to find the place to make investments in the future, so that every kid has the best education experience possible.

The second public discussion on these ideas will be on April 23rd at the Arnold Community Learning Center. The third is Tuesday May 7th, at Kooser Elementary.