I went into the week of spring break thinking I would get all caught up on paperwork and planning. I failed miserably, as I am inclined to do. My problem isn’t focus as much as it is pace. I seem to enjoy spending more time catching up with colleagues than sitting behind the desk. It is my great hope, however, that all others were able to find some time to enjoy the wonderful outdoor weather.
I am excited to announce that Dr. Jane Stavem is joining the Lincoln Public Schools leadership team in our District Offices. Dr. Stavem brings a tremendous background of successful experience at all levels of leadership in school districts of various sizes. She has a profound interest in focusing her skills to help our own school district continue to progress academically.
On the business side of LPS, the agreement for rebuilding our District Office development is getting closer to the finish line. Due to community interest and concern about the sale price for the property at 5901 O St., the school district retained an outside consultant – Kent Seacrest – to respond to allegations that we were selling too cheaply. His thorough research and data concluded that, given the restrictions we were placing on the property such as shared parking and our aggressive time line, LPS is getting a good deal. I don’t expect everyone to agree but I am confident the community will be proud of the end result.
The Lincoln Board of Education is hosting a community meeting – to hear feedback from our citizens about this project – at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at Culler Middle School, 5201 Vine St. The School Board is expected to take the final vote on the LPSDO project at the regular Board meeting set for Tuesday, March 27. The time line is aggressive, so look for dirt to begin flying in the next couple weeks. Scott Wieskamp, director of Facilities and Maintenance at LPS, targets the end of July, 2013 for the completion of our offices – and, for those who “can’t wait,” he also believes Whole Foods will be completed in close proximity of that date. We continue to believe this will be a great project for our school district and our community.
This has also been an exhausting Legislative year. We spent a great deal of time developing a sound strategy to make up for the shortfall in our budget from last year, and have worked hard this session to clarify and represent the challenges of our growing school district. Right now we believe we might be in better shape than we initially feared, however, we will still not fully meet the critical needs of future years. Kudos to our team and to our Legislative delegation for representing the interests of the more than 36,000 children we serve at Lincoln Public Schools.
It is hard to believe that this school year is almost gone. In between my bouts with procrastination, I have been doing the work of education, interviewing and hiring to fill critical staff positions and – looking ahead – already planning my graduation appearances. It truly is most enjoyable work.
Until next time,