LINCOLN, Neb. — Residents, teachers, principals and students in Lincoln are brainstorming ideas for what the school district’s next high school should look like.

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel told the Lincoln Journal Star the goal is to address dramatic enrollment growth at the high school level.

He said high school enrollment is at 106 percent. District officials expect another 5,000 students to enter the district in the next five years.

In addition to a new high school, the district’s 10-year plan calls for four new elementary schools and two new middle schools.

Joel said a traditional high school would cost about $80 million. He said it wouldn’t be feasible to build more than one new high school because the district wouldn’t be able to address space needs in elementary and middle schools.

The task force gathered Tuesday to discuss what it wanted to explore over the next six months and landed on four committees. One will look at innovative programs and delivery, and one will explore ideas for traditional high schools as well as those of different sizes. One will delve into city growth and school capacity, and one will focus on students, community and diversity.

Joel said there have been conversations about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), virtual and technical education. He said exploring different ideas for a high school makes sense.

“I just think this group has the opportunity — whether there are any changes or not — in this point in time in our history to ask the question,” he said.

Eighteen years ago, another task force looking into this issue recommended building two traditional high schools big enough to handle 1,500 students. It led to a bond issue that built Southwest and North Star high schools.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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