How many more schools does Lincoln need, where should they be located, and what should they offer? A large committee with a long name is working its way through those questions and many more.
The Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee gave an update Tuesday on the group’s work and projected timeline for recommendations on present and future facility and infrastructure needs for LPS.
The committee, led by Nick Cusick and Maribel Cruz, is made up of 100 people that have been meeting regularly in six subcommittees since January but will now present their initial recommendations as a full group. Cusick said “this is night we will hear the initial recommendations of the subcommittees, and this will be the first, but not the last reiteration of the recommendations.” The goal, said Cusick, “is to build a consensus that we can forward to the Superintendent then ultimately the School Board.”
Cruz explained the different ideas brought to the committee, saying “the subcommittees consist of constituents from across Lincoln. They are parents, neighbors, business leaders, and anyone with a stake in the students of LPS.” Cruz said the focus of the subcommittees were to identify the needs of facilities throughout LPS, specifically capital investments, renovations, and early childhood programs. Along with identifying the needs, Cruz said the subcommittees will look at how to “prioritize and juggle all of those needs and come to a consensus regarding what those priorities should be going forward.”
Cusick believes the committee as a whole is working well, saying “given the 100 different people and ideas, is every member’s willingness to listen to those ideas.” Cusick feels that because of the willingness to listen, when the recommendations are presented, the Superintendent and School Board will feel the committee looked at all the options and didn’t come to a conclusion quickly.
The subcommittees conducted research that included talking to community members who would be interacting with LPS facilities as well as students who would be directly impacted. Cruz said “there was a lot of research, a lot of thought put into these recommendations, but they are not fixed recommendations yet, we are still tweaking them.”
The committee is scheduled to meet monthly to discuss ideas, recommendations, and form a consensus with the goal of submitting final recommendations to the Superintendent of August 27th.