4 April Legislative Updates April 4, 2018 By Dara Newson News News 0 Feb. 14, 2017 Dear community members: There are a number of bills that have been introduced at the Nebraska Legislature this session that would impact our school district. Many of these bills are already being discussed at the committee level. It will be important for you to pay attention to these discussions as they unfold. The Omaha Public Schools Board opposes any legislative effort to divert resources to educational programs that are not governed by publicly-elected boards who are accountable to the citizens for the use of their tax dollars. Below is an outline of just a few examples of key bills that could impact OPS. The OPS board opposes each of the following: LB 630 - The Independent Public Schools Act – This bill would allow for charter schools in Nebraska. Charter schools would receive state aid and the public school system would be required to transport students living within their boundaries. LB 662 – Establish a grading system for schools and school districts – This bill would require the state board of education to create an accountability system that would grade schools’ performance A-F based on: (1) student proficient on statewide tests (2) percent of students that make growth in proficiency in reading and math (3) percent of students that make growth in proficiency for the lowest performing 25 percent of students in a particular school in math and reading (4) high school students earning a diploma in 4 years. LB 608 - Parental choice Scholarship Program -This bill would require OPS to pay 75 percent of the anticipated revenue per student to a private school for any eligible student. Eligible students would be k-12 students living in the boundaries of any OPS school at the lowest performance level. OPS would also be required to transport eligible students to private schools. The remaining 25 percent of anticipated revenue per student would go into a property tax relief fund to lower property taxes the following school year. There are numerous other bills that would change some aspect of the state aid formula. Some of the changes proposed in some of these bills could negatively impact OPS’ revenue stream in the years to come. The below outline presents the position that has been taken by our Board of Education for each bill included. For the most recent information regarding currently active bills at the unicameral, please visit:http://nebraskalegislature.gov OSERS The Board of Education of the Omaha Public Schools hereby reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the long term stability of the Omaha School Employees' Retirement System (OSERS). We support the efforts of the Nebraska Legislature to harmonize OSERS with the Nebraska School Employees Retirement System. LB 548 – Merge OSERS with School Employees Retirement System This bill would consolidate the Omaha School Employees Retirement System (OSERS) and the Nebraska School Employee Retirement System (NSERS). OSERS is currently experiencing a declining investments balance. The bill would present a resolution to reverse that trend. The bill does not affect current or retired employees’ benefits under the plan. OPS Board supports. Students LB 595 - Use of Physical Force or Restraint in Response to Student Behavior This bill would allow a teacher or administrator to use necessary physical force or restraint to subdue a student who is physically violent toward himself, those around him or is destructive toward school property until the student no longer presents a danger. Teachers would be allowed to remove a student from their classroom if student repeatedly disrupts a teacher’s ability to effectively teach. Teachers and administrators would not be subject to legal action or administrative discipline. OPS Board will monitor. Parent Education Funding LB 295 – Opportunity Scholarship Act This bill creates a scholarship granting organization that provides scholarships for tuition and fees for students at nongovernmental, private elementary and secondary schools. OPS Board opposes. LB 608 - Parental choice Scholarship Program This bill would require OPS to pay 75 percent of the anticipated revenue per student to a private school for any eligible student. Eligible students would be k-12 students living in the boundaries of any OPS school at the lowest performance level. OPS would also be required to transport eligible students to private schools. The remaining 25 percent of anticipated revenue per student would go into a property tax relief fund to lower property taxes the following school year. OPS Board opposes. School Funding The Board of Education of the Omaha Public Schools hereby reaffirms its support for the following key principles regarding the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunity Support Act (TEEOSA). The Board supports the efforts of the legislature, through TEEOSA, to equalize resources to ensure educational opportunity for all students across the state. Within the formula, the Board especially supports additional funding for children in poverty, English Language Learners, and early childhood education; additional weighting for focus schools; funding for transportation; and the averaging adjustment. The Board opposes changes to TEEOSA that are disequalizing. The Board wishes to emphasize that one of the initial objectives of TEOSA was to provide a stable, predictable system by which school districts could reasonably project, plan and budget for their annual state aid allocation. As such, the Board opposes annual modifications to TEEOSA that are designed to minimize increases or even reduce the level of state funding. The Board supports continued strong funding for Special Education. The Board supports consideration by the legislature of a mechanism to provide for equalization of facility renovation and construction among school districts. LB 119 – Delay Certification Date for TEEOSA This bill would delay the certification date for TEEOSA (the Nebraska school funding formula) from March 1, 2017 to June 1, 2017. OPS Board opposes. LB 144 – Reduced Percentage of Valuation of Agricultural Land This bill would adjust the percentage of land valuation of agricultural land for the purposes of the TEEOSA (the Nebraska school funding) formula. The percentage would drop from 72 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2018; 40 percent in 2019, 30 percent in 2020 and 20 percent for all years thereafter. OPS Board opposes. LB 265 – TEEOSA: Foundation AID This bill would provide that each school get a minimum amount of state aid per student. In fiscal year 2018-19 it would be $1,500 per student, $2,500 per student in 2019-2010, $3,500 per student in 2020-2021, $4,500 per student in 2021-2022 and $5,500 per student in 2022-2023 and after. OPS Board opposes. LB 266 – Agricultural Land Valuation This bill would reduce the valuation of agricultural and horticultural land for purposes of property tax to 50 percent in 2018, 40 percent in 2019, 30 percent in 2020 and after. The acceptable range to be used for school district taxation would be 44 percent to 50 percent in 2018, 34 percent to 40 percent in 2010 and 24 percent to 30 percent in 2020. OPS Board opposes. LB 270 – Expanded learning Opportunity Grant Program Act This bill would set aside $750,000 for the fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19 to the Department of Education to carry out the Expanded Learning Opportunity Grant Program. OPS Board supports. LB 338 – Income Approach Valuation of Agricultural Land This bill would require that agricultural and horticultural land be valued for property tax purposes at its value of use. The Property Tax Administrator would establish capitalization rates to be applied to agricultural land. The capitalization rates would be set aggregated agricultural use values, based on different types of agricultural land, between 60 to 75 percent of actual value. The aggregate agricultural use value could not increase more than 3 ½ percent from prior year. OPS Board opposes. LB 409 – TEEOSA: Reduce Base Limitation This would reduce the budget limitation rate from 2 1/2 percent to zero percent for fiscal year 2017-18 and 2018-19. OPS board opposes. LB 510 – Installment Contracts This bill would limit any political subdivision from having a total outstanding obligation under installment contracts to exceed $25 million. OPS Board opposes. LB 521 – TEEOSA Early Childhood Education This bill would increase the early childhood education fall membership included in the TEEOSA (state education funding) formula from 60 percent to 80 percent. Would also include calculation for early childhood transportation costs in TEEOSA. OPS Board supports. LB 540 – TEEOSA: Temporary Aid Adjustment This bill would add a temporary aid adjustment to schools fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19. The adjustments would be equal to a percentage of the formula need of each school district. The goal is to implement a reduction in TEEOSA to assist with state’s budget crisis without making significant and long-term changes to TEEOSA formula. OPS Board supports. LB 571 TEEOSA: Allocated Income Tax This bill would remove the minimum levy adjustment from the definition of allocated income tax funds. It would provide 20 percent of the aggregate statewide income tax liability of all resident individuals be disbursed as option payments. OPS Board opposes. LB 572 – Termination of TEEOSA This bill would terminate TEEOSA effective Jan. 1, 2020. It would terminate the property tax credit act and Nebraska Advantage Act on the same date. OPS Board opposes. LB 576 - No Growth in Property Taxes This bill would keep an owner’s property tax bill for 2017 and 2018 at no higher than their tax bill for 2016. OPS Board opposes. LB 602 – Valuation of Agricultural Land This bill would value agricultural and horticultural land using the capitalized net earning approach to determine the value of the land for purposes of taxation. Capitalization rate would be set at 6 percent. OPS Board opposes. LB 640- Limitation of School Levy This bill would reduce the maximum levy for districts from $1.05 to $1.00. Funds from the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund for districts would be distributed when the general fund property tax receipts exceed 60 percent of the total general fund revenue. The cash fund would be increased each year at the same rate of increase to TEEOSA. OPS Board opposes. Schools/Programs The Omaha Public Schools Board opposes any legislative effort to divert resources to educational programs that are not governed by publicly-elected boards who are accountable to the citizens for the use of their tax dollars. LB 630 - The Independent Public Schools Act This bill would allow for charter schools in Nebraska. Charter schools would receive state aid and public school would be required to transport students living within their boundaries. OPS Board opposes. LB 634 – Virtual Schools This bill would provide a definition of virtual schools. Virtual school students would then be included in the TEEOSA calculation. OPS Board supports. Teachers LB 525 – Master Teacher Program Fund This bill would decrease the amount of lottery dollars going to the Education Innovation Grant Program from 17 percent to 16 percent. It would redirect that 1 percent decrease to the Master Teacher Program Fund. OPS Board will monitor. LB 568- Temporary Teaching Certificates This bill would allow for temporary teaching certificates. Applicants would have complete an application and pay a fee. Applicants would be required to be over 21, possess a high school diploma, complete 24 hours of in-service training, 10 hours of classroom observation, complete a course and pass an exam on the Constitution of the United States and Constitution of Nebraska with score a of 80 percent or higher. OPS Board opposes. LB 650 – Alternative Certification for Teachers This bill would allow the State Board of Education to grant teaching certificates to any person based on their college credits earned, to someone holding a doctoral degree, anyone with a valid teaching certificate in another state, to anyone with two years teaching experience at the postsecondary level or to anyone with a certificate issued by national or regional educator credentialing agency as long as they pass the appropriate subject area examination. This bill would also allow for adjunct teaching certificates to be issued for part-time teaching positions. OPS Board will monitor. Transportation LB 279 – Lap-Shoulder Belts on School Buses This bill would require school buses purchased on or after date law went in to affect to be equipped with lap-shoulder belts for each passenger. OPS Board will monitor. Other LB 662 – Establish a Grading System for schools and School Districts This bill would require the state board of education to create an accountability system that would grade schools’ performance A-F based on: (1) student proficient on statewide tests (2) percent of students that make growth in proficiency in reading and math (3) percent of students that make growth in proficiency for the lowest performing 25 percent of students in a particular school in math and reading (4) high school students earning a diploma in 4 years. OPS Board opposes. Related Articles A Salute to the Greatest Generation and Benson JROTC Cadets A Salute to the Greatest Generation and Benson JROTC Cadets Nebraska state Sens. Bob Krist and Burke Harr co-sponsored Legislative Resolution 465 recognizing Benson High Magnet’s JROTC for their 20-year tradition of excellence and for being selected to represent the state of Nebraska during the 70th Anniversary D-Day Memorial Parade in Normandy, France, on June 6, 2014. A ceremony was held on Friday, March 28, at 1:30 p.m., in Benson’s gym for the reading of LR 465. The ceremony recognized the Cadet Corps as well as three WWII veterans: Capt. Roy Long, U.S. Army; Cpl. John Dickinson, U.S. Marine Corps and Radioman Petty Officer 1st Class Ed Cohn, U.S. Navy. In attendance during the ceremony were Sen. Harr; Matt Scanlan, OPS board member; Toba-Cohen Dunning, executive director of the Omaha School's Foundation; retired Lt. Col. Jeff Flagg, director of Army instruction for the Omaha Public Schools and Jerry Bexten, director of education initiatives, for the Sherwood Foundation. Resolution 465 Passed by the 103rd Nebraska Legislature, Second Session Introduced by Krist, 10; Harr, 8 WHEREAS, the Benson High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) was originally chartered at Benson High School in September 1936, one of the original such programs in Omaha; and WHEREAS, the Benson High School JROTC is an outstanding program, having earned for the 20th consecutive year the coveted Honor Unit with Distinction and Gold Star designation and award; and WHEREAS, the Benson High School JROTC has been selected to represent the State of Nebraska at events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, Allied invasion of Europe, which will take place in Normandy, France, in June 2014. NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOVLED BY THE MEMBERS OF THE ONE HUNDRED THIRD LEGISLATURE OF NEBRASKA, SECOND SESSION: That the Legislature encourages Nebraskans to support the Benson High School JROTC in their efforts to attend the events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe. That the Legislature salutes the Benson High School JROTC and designates Friday, March 28, 2014 as Benson JROTC Day. State of Nebraska Proclamation WHEREAS, The Benson High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) was originally chartered at Benson High School in September 1936, one of the original such programs in Omaha; and WHEREAS, The Benson High School JROTC is an outstanding program, having earned for the 20th consecutive year, the coveted Honor Unit with Distinction and Gold Star designation and award; and WHEREAS, The Benson High School JROTC has been selected by the Normandy D-Day Selection Committee of the Department of Defense to represent the State of Nebraska and to attend the 70th Anniversary of the June 6, 1944 Allied invasion of Europe; and WHEREAS, All citizens are encouraged to support the Benson High School JROTC in their efforts to attend the Normandy celebration. NOW THEREFORE, I, Dave Heineman, Governor of the State of Nebraska, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM the 28th day of March, 2014 as BENSON JROTC DAY in Nebraska and I do hereby urge all citizens to take due not of the observance. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand, and cause the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska to be affixed this Twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Fourteen. To view full image gallery: click here Board of Education Highlights - 12/15/2014 The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education met on Monday, December 15, 2014 at the Teacher Administrative Center, 3215 Cuming Street. To view the full agenda click on the following link: http://district.ops.org/BOARDOFEDUCATION/CurrentMeetings.aspx The following are highlights of the meeting held on December 15, 2014: School Spotlights: Dozens of OPS buildings are reaching out to help the less fortunate this holiday season. Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and alternative programs are engaging in everything from fundraisers to canned food drives this month, helping charities all across Omaha; at the same time, central office staff at TAC have been raising money to help the Lydia House. Emblematic of this district-wide effort is Ponca Elementary, whose 150 students have already filled more than 40 large boxes with food items they brought to donate to the Food Bank. North’s Academy of Finance recently joined the innovative new Samsung School pilot program and showcased its new classroom set-up for the media. The pilot program is the first such program in the Midwest. North will now utilize Samsung School—a fully integrated, individualized learning experience that combines the latest tablets and display technology—to create a dynamic classroom environment and deliver engaging lessons and personalized learning. Consent Agenda: The Board of Education approved several items under Consent Agenda. Board Appointment - Nebraska Schools Medicaid Consortium Board Members The Board of Education approved the appointment of the following individuals to serve as Omaha Public Schools representatives to the Nebraska Schools Medicaid Consortium Board (NSMC) as described in the First Amendment to an Interlocal Agreement Creating the NSMC (approved by the Board of Education August 18, 2014). The NSMC Board serves with approved representatives of the Lincoln Public Schools in a consortium to oversee the state-wide claiming for Medicaid Administrative Services reimbursement through authorization by the State of Nebraska. Megan Neiles-Brasch – District In-House Legal Counsel Ibrahima Diop – Director of Accounting and Finance Kara Saldierna – Director of Special Education Information: 75 North Project and Howard Kennedy Elementary An update was provided on the ongoing work of the 75North Project as it relates to Howard Kennedy Elementary. Staff provided updates on the work of the steering committee, conversations with Kennedy staff, and information gathering on the project. ECONOMICS AND FINANCIAL LITERACY CURRICULUM UPDATE The Economics and Financial Literacy (EFL) course that is a mandatory social studies credit for graduation fulfils Nebraska state standards 12.2.1, 12.2.2, 12.2.3, 12.2.5, 12.2.6, 12.2.7, 12.2.8, and 12.2.9 for Economics. The remaining Economics state standards are covered throughout the other mandatory social studies courses. The Advanced Placement (AP - College Board Curriculum) Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses do not completely align with the state Economics standards. The AP courses do not fulfil standards 12.2.6-12.2.9. As a result, a student who takes either Economics AP course still must take the EFL required course to fulfil the missing state standards. This has proven to discourage some students from attempting Economics AP courses during their sophomore year. As it is an overall outcome that clearly defines success for OPS, reflected in the OPS Strategic Plan, a recommendation is being made to split the EFL course into an Economics course, still mandatory for graduation on the sophomore level, and a new and mandatory Personal Finance course to be taken during a student’s senior year. The newly added Personal Finance course will replace one of the 17 elective courses currently needed for graduation, decreasing that to 16. A formal request to the Board to approve the change to high school graduation requirements (as noted above) will occur in February. The item before the Board of Education today is for information and discussion. A full report on the social studies adoption with a request to approve the District adoption will be provided to the Board of Education in the Spring. Grade Level Grade Configuration Central Office staff will make a recommendation on Jan 21, 2015 that: 1) all new construction or remodeling of OPS Middle Schools be done so based on a 6 - 8 configuration; and 2) that all current OPS Middle Schools are transitioned to a 6 - 8 model as soon as their capacity allows except for King Science and Marrs, which shall remain 5-8. Human Growth and Development Curriculum Update A brief update was provided to the Board of Education on the continued work on reviewing curriculum, the future process of gathering input (parent phone survey), planning training, discussing future course offerings, and future selection and piloting of curriculum for the Human Growth and Development course offering. This work is reflected on the attached updated implementation timeline. The Board of Education received a presentation on this topic on May 5, 2014 prior to the start of the work listed on the timeline. The Human Growth and Development curricular and course updating process is a collaborative effort between OPS teachers, the Omaha Women’s Fund, the Sherwood Foundation, the State Department of Education and other OPS staff. A parent survey was also presented. Action: APPOINTMENT TO THE OMAHA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM BOARD OF TRUSTEES Staff, at the direction of the Board of Trustees of the Omaha School Employees’ Retirement System who interviewed 3 applicants for the position, presented the following individual to be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Business Member Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Omaha School Employees’ Retirement System: NAME POSITION TERM Donn Jones Business Representative Remainder of 3-Year Term ending 8/31/2017 The Board of Education approved Donn Jones as a member of the Board of Trustees. Legislative Positions The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education discussed the next steps regarding legislative positions. Receipt of Reports: District English Language Learner and Refugee Report ESUCC Board Minutes Conflict of Interest Form Conclusion: The Board of Education went into Closed Session at 9:54 PM. The Board of Education adjourned at 11 PM. The next regular meeting is scheduled on Monday, January 5, 2015, at 6:30. Board of Education Highlights - 4/6/2015 The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education met on Monday, April 6th, 2015 at the Teacher Administrative Center, 3215 Cuming Street. To view the full agenda, click on the following link: http://district.ops.org/BOARDOFEDUCATION/CurrentMeetings.aspx The following are highlights of the meeting held on April 6th, 2015: Spotlight: Congratulations to Brooke Biby of Joslyn Elementary! The sixth-grade OPS student took first place at the Midwest Spelling Bee in March. Now, she is set to represent western Iowa and the entire state of Nebraska at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. later this spring. Biby won the OPS Spelling Bee earlier this semester in order to advance to the Midwest competition. We salute OPS’ state wrestling champions! John Feeney (Northwest), Connor Fox (Burke), Ty Jackson (North), and Andrew Pistillo (Burke) all finished first in their respective weight classes at the state championships at the CenturyLink Center. Adding to those accomplishments is this fact: OPS had more individual state wrestling champions in 2015 than any other metro district. Congratulations to all! Consent Agenda: The Board of Education approved several items under Consent Agenda. Information: Jacobs Bond Update Central Office Staff and Jacobs provided an update on the Bond. Committees of the Board of Education Updates The chairs of the Communications and Citizen Bond Oversight Committee provided an update to the Board. Collaborating for Equity Grant Staff provided an update on the progress of the Collaborating for Equity Grant. Wakonda Update Dr. Dwayne Chism provided an update on the process with the Wakonda School Improvement Grant. Action: 75 North Kennedy Plan An update was provided about the ongoing work of the 75 North Project as it relates to Howard Kennedy Elementary. The Board Approved the conceptual plan as presented for Howard Kennedy beginning in the 16-17 school year through the 26-27 school year. Legislative Update The Board received an update on current legislative issues. Conclusion: The Board of Education went into Closed Session at 10:06 P.M. The Board of Education adjourned at 11:11 P.M. The next regular meeting is scheduled on Monday, April 20th, 2015 at 6:30 P.M. Board of Education Highlights - 1/21/2015 The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education met on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at the Teacher Administrative Center, 3215 Cuming Street. To view the full agenda, click on the following link: http://district.ops.org/BOARDOFEDUCATION/CurrentMeetings.aspx The following are highlights of the meeting held on January 21, 2015: Spotlight: The Board honored the Benson girls basketball team for having won the Metro Holiday Tournament – and also honored the school’s three student-athletes who recently signed to play sports at division-one universities. Consent Agenda: The Board of Education approved several items under Consent Agenda. Information Items: Bond Program Update Jacobs and OPS staff presented general information on the status of ongoing bond program work. Limited English Proficiency and Poverty Plan Reporting An information update was provided regarding the development and reporting process of the statutory required Poverty and the Limited English Proficiency Plans as well as funding levels to support these district-funded initiatives. School Improvement Planning in the Omaha Public Schools An overview was provided regarding school improvement planning at OPS. Central office and building staff provided background knowledge, components of school improvement plans, timelines, accountability measures, growth goals and support involved with the school improvement plan process. NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Restructuring Plan Under NCLB, every state must set the goals that each school must meet. Schools that do not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for two consecutive years will be identified as needing improvement. The Nebraska Department of Education must determine if each school and district (even those that do not receive Title I funds) make AYP. Every year a school is designated as needing improvement, a sanction occurs per federal requirements. During the fifth year a school is labeled as needing improvement, they are required to implement a restructuring plan. OPS has one school in the state-approved restructuring plan, and 21 schools will be going into restructuring next year. An overview of this process was provided. Action Items: Legislative Positions The Board of Education approved specific legislative positons. Omaha Public School Board of Education Resolution Regarding Posts of State Board of Education Member, Pat McPherson. The Board of Education made an official statement regarding posts of State Board of Education Member, Pat McPherson. School Improvement Grant The Board of Education approved staff to apply for School Improvement Grant(s). Grade Level Configuration The Board of Education instructed staff to obtain more parent feedback regarding grade level configuration. Design Firm Selection–2014 Bond Program Quick Start Projects–Various Schools The BOE approved the recommended appointment of firms to provide professional services, including plans, specifications and construction administration, for 2014 Bond Program Quick Start Projects. Second Reading - Policy 3000 The Board of Education approved Policy Section 3000, Board Operations. Resolution Concerning Opportunity Schools The Board of Education did not approve the proposed resolution on Opportunity Schools. Receipt of Reports: ESUCC Board Minutes The Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council (ESUCC) meets monthly to support the statewide coordinated provision of the most cost-effective services for students, teachers, and school district in each educational service unit. Following approval of the meeting minutes by the full Council, these minutes are provided to the Board of Education as an update. ESU Coordinating Council Meeting minutes for November 2014 are provided as an attachment. Class Size Report 2014-15 The Class Size and Pupil-Teacher Ratio Report provides annual information pertaining to class size and pupil-teacher ratios at the district level and for each school. These statistics are based upon the OPS student population as it existed on the last Friday of September (Official Fall Membership, September 26, 2014). The report is used by building leadership along with Human Resources staff to assure adequate staffing at each of the district's schools. Factors affecting staffing decisions include enrollment changes, available classroom space, placement of special programs, and available funding. Conclusion: The Board of Education went into Closed Session at 12:00 A.M. The Board of Education adjourned at 1:21 A.M. The next regular meeting is set for Monday, February 2, at 6:30. Board of Education Highlights - 2/4/2015 The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education met on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 at the Teacher Administrative Center, 3215 Cuming Street. To view the full agenda click on the following link: http://district.ops.org/BOARDOFEDUCATION/CurrentMeetings.aspx The following are highlights of the meeting held on February 4th, 2015: Spotlight: The Board of Education honors the top two finishers from this week's district spelling bee—Brooke Biby (1st) of Joslyn Elementary; and Emiliano Altuzar (2nd) of Davis Middle. Congratulations! The school spotlight also focuses on Kellom Elementary: faculty and staff held a pep rally recently to support fourth-graders as they prepared to take the NeSA writing test. Students, faculty, and staff lined the hallways, held signs, and cheered on the fourth-graders as they walked by—an outstanding team effort! Congrats to all at Kellom Elementary! Consent Agenda: The Board of Education approved several items under Consent Agenda. Information: Graduation and Drop-Out Rate Information The 2014 Graduation and Drop-Out Report presents annual information on the district’s graduation and drop-out rates for all students and racial/ethnic groups. This report provides district officials and policy makers with a metric for understanding the district’s progress in graduating students. Overall, the district’s graduation rate has increased 17.2% and the dropout rate has decreased 3.9% since 2003 – and the data show that OPS is narrowing the graduation gap between racial/ethnic groups. BOND FINANCING UPDATE Information was provided by the Bond Financing team regarding the actions taken thus far to prepare for the sale of voter approved bonds for the renovation and construction of district school facilities. Included was a recommendation of the District's financial advisor as to the method of sale of the first series of bonds. Standards Based Grading Update Central office staff provided a brief update on Standards Based Grading using a ‘frequently asked questions’ outline created for the board. That document was provided for additional information and reference. Benson Career Academy Plan Benson staff and community members provided a short presentation on the newly proposed wall-to-wall Career Academy plan for Benson High. Attached to the Board Agenda is a PowerPoint presentation and Benson’s comprehensive plan of action to implement Career Academies. Action: Construction Manager at Risk – Policy 7003 The Board of Education approved the first reading of Policy 7003. School Improvement Grant: Next Steps Central office staff recommended next steps for consideration by the Board to apply for a Title I NCLB School Improvement Grant. The Board of Education approved staff to move forward with a School Improvement Grant application for Wakonda Elementary. Legislative Positions The Board of Education reviewed and voted on legislative positons. Receipt of Reports: OPS Secondary Accreditation External Reviews 2015 Accreditation is a required process by which schools examine all systems and educational functions to certify competency and authority in the operation of Nebraska public schools. Attached to the Board Agenda is an update to Board members of this process, which will be occurring February 8-11, 2015. Conclusion: The Board of Education went into Closed Session at 10:49 P.M. The Board of Education adjourned at 12:13 A.M. The next regular meeting is scheduled for 6:30 P.M. Thursday, February 19th. Board of Education Highlights - 2/19/2015 The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education met on Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at the Teacher Administrative Center, 3215 Cuming Street. To view the full agenda, click on the following link: http://district.ops.org/BOARDOFEDUCATION/CurrentMeetings.aspx The following are highlights of the meeting held on February 19th, 2015: School Spotlight: Chandler View Elementary PE teacher Tammy Freeburg is one of six teachers selected for the 2014 National All Star Teacher of the Year award from Project Fit America. Trainers from the organization, who work on-site at each school building, nominate teachers they find excelling exceptionally well in project development. The nominated teachers are then invited to submit their lesson plans, teaching philosophies, and how they are using the Project Fit America program in their curriculum. Ms. Freeburg is the only teacher in Nebraska selected for the award. Consent Agenda: The Board of Education approved several items under Consent Agenda. The Board of Education approved Superintendent Mark Evans’ recommendation of the following Administrative Appointment: Constance Knoche, Director of Finance with Lincoln Public Schools, will become the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO)—succeeding Dr. Dennis Pool, who retired from OPS in January. Information: Bond Program Update Jacobs and OPS staff presented general information on the status of ongoing bond program work. Critical Friend Update As part of our contract with Cross and Joftus (C&J) to support strategic planning, Cross & Joftus (C&J) was asked to return three times during the 2014-15 school year to assess the school district's progress in implementing the strategic plan and to present findings and recommendations. Cross and Joftus summarized their findings to the Board of Education. Action: Legislative Positions The Board of Education approved specific legislative positons. Committee of the Whole - Policy 8150 The Board of Education approved the first reading of Policy 8150, Committee of the Whole. Second Reading Construction Manager at Risk - Policy 7003 The Board of Education approved the second reading of Policy 7003, Second Reading Construction Manager at Risk. BID No. 15-003 Broker Insurance Services The Board of Education approved Harry A. Koch Company Insurance and Financial Consultants Member of First Insurance Group LLC as the insurance broker for the District based upon an RFP process. Receipt of Reports: Accreditation District Exit Report The final Accreditation District Exit Report from February 11th is attached to the Board Agenda. This is the district overview presentation provided by AdvancED which combines themes and data from the 20 visits completed by the External Review Teams on February 9, 10 and 11. Conclusion: The Board of Education went into Closed Session at 8:30 P.M. The Board of Education adjourned at 9:21 P.M. The next regular meeting is scheduled on Monday, March 2, at 6:30 P.M. Comments are closed.