Dear Board Members:
After making the fiscally questionable decision to rebuild the Lincoln Public Schools District Office (LPSDO) at 59th and O Streets, it is important that this Board not spend excessively on the new office. To this end, the Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) asks the Board to not spend in excess of the insurance settlement.
LIBA further requests that the Board strongly consider efficiencies in deciding which departments to move back into the new LPSDO. LIBA believes that the purchasing department, nutrition department, and print shop should all be located at the distribution center. LIBA suggests working with the insurance company to finance the needed changes to relocate these departments at the distribution center.
LIBA will only support the leasing of space in the new LPSDO to non-LPS organizations if these tenants are charged a market rate for their lease. LPS should not be in the business of competing with the private sector, especially by using the inherent advantages that come with being a public, tax-funded organization. Any monies received from leasing or selling space or land should be routed to directly educating students. This money should not be used or relied upon to build or furnish the new LPSDO.
Although we did not support the LPS Board decision to rebuild at the old location, LIBA does support the Board in building a new functional LPSDO, as long as the Board spends within the insurance settlement and makes reasonable decisions about how the new LPSDO should be used. We would also ask that the Board keep in mind that the former building was 91,034 square feet of space. This was not an efficient layout for District Office use. Considering that Special Education and Student Services have been moved to Hawthorne and a new data center is being built, it certainly would seem reasonable that if the insurance settlement does not require the same square footage, that a smaller building could be considered.
LIBA recognizes that the time frames are short for the new LPSDO project. LIBA believes that it is vital to a successful project that the Board is fully involved in the process and that all significant decisions are fully discussed and decided by the Board. LIBA also believes it is important for there to be public involvement in this process. Full Board involvement and public oversight is important for the new LPSDO to be a successful project that is accepted by taxpayers.