LINCOLN–(News Release June 27)–The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session on Tuesday, June 27, to review the 2023-2024 preliminary proposed budget as presented by Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish. You can view the entire work session here.
Lincoln Public Schools prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenue. By utilizing cash flow, LPS is able to weather volatile shifts in revenue caused by large reductions in State Equalization Aid a year after the school district may receive a bump in local property assessment values the previous year.
Building the budget begins each February when LPS staff review every budget line item and look at staffing levels for each school building through conferences. Budget focus and priority is also given to the All Means All Action Plan, the common themes outlined in the Superintendent’s Transition Update, and consideration of the upcoming strategic planning process.
During the 2023-2024 budget process, the Board will consider a 13 cent drop in the total levy to $1.08 per 100 of valuation.
“Purposeful policy decisions by the Lincoln Board of Education have consistently lowered the tax levy over the last 20 years,” said Standish. “The Board has worked on incrementally lowering the levy 10 cents to the $1.21 we see today. A 13 cent levy drop this year is a meaningful reduction.”
Two factors are impacting the tax levy this year – estimated valuation growth and the state of Nebraska’s investment in Special Education cost reimbursement from state sources instead of local sources.
The 2023-2024 preliminary proposed budget is approximately $514 million, representing a 4.8% increase from 2022-2023. Staff salaries and benefits make up almost 90% of the total budget, and negotiated agreements led to a 3.65% increase in the budget. Each month, LPS pays approximately 6,500 employees a total of $30 million each month – money that pumps back into the Lincoln through the purchase of goods, services and property taxes.
Other highlights of the 2023-2024 preliminary proposed budget include:
- Investing approximately $100,000 into providing feminine hygiene products free in bathrooms for middle and high school students.
- An increase of $680,000 for additional bus routes to serve student needs.
- Increasing the number of substitutes by adding $343,000 to the budget.
- Adding coaches for girls wrestling across the district.
- A net budget increase of approximately $691,128 to finish opening Northwest High School, Ada Robinson Elementary School, and for the first year of Standing Bear High School – which includes two early childhood classrooms.
- Reorganization of district-level administrators to fill vacant positions and shift focus on student behaviors will add approximately $184-thousand.
- Investing in Indoor Air Quality projects through past bond referendums has resulted in a forecasted zero percent increase in energy costs, saving the district approximately $148,100.
- Every year the district budget proposal includes unmet needs that always exceed the funding available. This year, the tough decision was made to not fund approximately $3.3-million in requests by transportation, technology, student services, health services, athletics and Human Resources.
LPS values community input, and continues to rely on a solid process for budget development that includes multiple opportunities for community feedback. Everyone is invited to attend any of the four in-person public forums.
In-person public forums
- June 28, 5 p.m. in the Northeast High School Cafeteria
- June 29, 5 p.m. in the East High School Cafeteria
- July 11, 5 p.m. in the Southwest High School Commons
- July 12, 5 p.m. in the North Star High School Commons
In addition, staff will host a virtual public budget presentation and answer any questions during a live webinar via Zoom on June 29, 12 p.m. Go to lps.org and click the link to view the virtual staff presentation and ask staff questions through the Q&A button.
Schedule a presentation