Annual Report for Lincoln Public Schools

The 2021-2022 school year was a year of big announcements at Lincoln Public Schools

Superintendent Steve Joel announced he would be retiring at the end of the school year. Joel joined LPS in 2010 after serving as the superintendent for Grand Island Public Schools for 10 years. Joel’s first challenge at LPS came within his first year when a tragic fire resulted in a complete loss of the LPS District Office in 2011. During his time as superintendent, he has focused on comprehensive solutions to significant school and community issues. LPS has faced booming enrollment, adding approximately 5,700 students in the last 10 years, and passed two bond referendums to build new schools and renovate existing buildings while increasing school security measures and the technology infrastructure.

The Board held a four-month long national search for the next superintendent with a wide-range of community input sessions. In February of 2022, the Lincoln Board of Education announced Paul Gausman would be the next superintendent. Gausman had been the superintendent for Sioux City Community School District since 2014, during which time the school district has seen significant gains in academic achievement and the graduation rate. In December 2021, he was elected by superintendents from across the nation to serve as president of the Urban Superintendents Association of America.


LPS 2022 graduation rates rebounding despite pandemic

Every LPS high school saw an increase in the number of students graduating over the previous years where there was a continuous slight decline. The LPS four-year graduation rate for the class of 2022 is up two points to 83.9%. This is the highest graduation rate for LPS since 2018. You can find more information about the 2022 graduation rates here.

Lincoln Public Schools District received a designation of “Good” for the 2022 AQuESTT Classification

Each year, the Nebraska Department of Education releases school accountability data using the AQuESTT Framework. AQuESTT stands for Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow and includes state classifications and federal designations. 2022 is the first-time new classifications have been released since Fall 2019.

More information can be found on the Nebraska Department of Education website.

Assessments show LPS teachers helped lessen negative impact of pandemic

While schools across the nation continue to learn how much the COVID-19 pandemic impacted students, 2022 fall assessments showed that students in Lincoln continued to progress at a better pace than their peers.

LPS officials released their Fall 2022 Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) data, along with information from previous years prior to and during the pandemic. The MAP growth assessment is one of the nation’s most widely used and trusted assessments to measure academic achievement and growth in K-12 education. It is an adaptive test that allows educators to make real-time assessments of student learning and timely adjustments to provide learning interventions and extra supports for students. It can also be  compared nationally with over 6 million students in grades 3-8 who also took MAP growth assessments in reading and mathematics.

Key takeaways LPS gained from the reading and math assessments include:

  • In both reading and math from Fall 2019 to Fall 2022, LPS student achievement in grades 3-8 as measured by MAP exceeded the national average*. In some grade levels LPS exceeds the national mean for the norm group by a significant difference.
  • In LPS between 2019 and 2021, in reading there were declines at only two grade levels, with the largest decline in seventh grade of five percentile points.
  • Nationally*, the mean decline across grades 3-8 in reading between 2019 and 2021 was 5.2 percentile points. The mean decline in LPS reading across grades 3-8 over the same period was 0.8 percentile points.
  • Between 2019 and 2021, in LPS mathematics there were declines at four grade levels, with the largest decline in seventh grade of eight percentile points – less than the range of declines nationally*.
  • Nationally*, the mean decline across grades 3-8 in mathematics between 2019 and 2021 was 10.0 percentile points. The mean decline in LPS mathematics across grades 3-8 over the same period was 2.7 percentile points.
  • LPS achievement as measured by MAP growth, in both reading and mathematics between 2019 and 2021, did not decline as much as achievement did nationally*. In some grade levels LPS improved in both reading and mathematics, reflecting the effort of teachers and leaders to ensure continuity of learning through the pandemic.
  • Although smaller in magnitude than national declines, LPS declines mirrored the nation* in that declines were greater in mathematics than reading.
  • In LPS, in both reading and mathematics, there were slight declines in median percentile ranks between 2021 and 2022. Analysis of these scores continues, but may be related to ongoing teacher and student fatigue related to COVID-19 protocols and challenges associated with students returning to in-person learning.

You can see more of the numbers on our website here.

LPS By the Numbers

Total Enrollment
0 %
Daily Attendance
0 %
Free/Reduced Lunch Participants
0 %
Students in Gifted Education
0 %
Students in Special Education
0 %
English Language Learners
0 %
On-Time Graduation Rate
0 %
Graduated in 4-7 Years


LPS has a solid process for budget development, using a three-year forecasting and sustainability model to manage and stabilize the swings in state funding revenue. LPS is one of the lowest-spending school districts in the state for per-pupil costs and has been for decades – ranking 213 out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per-pupil spending, more than $1,000 lower than the state average.

2021–2022 Expenditure Budget: $462,803,195

Instruction accounts for 81.34% of total expenditures!

For more information, visit lps.org/budget