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The three groups working to create a joint public agency for school security programs have hired Lincoln attorney Kent Seacrest to work on the project.

Seacrest has been hired by the city of Lincoln, Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Community Foundation under three separate contracts to work on creating a joint public agency, or JPA, and to coordinate the role of nonprofit organizations that provide most of the before- and after-school community learning center programs at Lincoln's 26 public schools.

Currently the 11 nonprofit groups that provide learning center services have separate contracts with the public schools.

City and school leaders who have been describing the proposed JPA have said that a single nonprofit governance agency, made up of those nonproffit groups offering community learning centers, would work with the JPA.

The JPA itself would be a partnership between the city of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools.

Seacrest will be paid up to $27,500 for this work, with up to $10,000 coming from the city, up to $10,000 from the foundation, and $7,500 from the school district. Seacrest will donate 25 percent of his time, said Barb Bartle, president of the foundation. 

Seacrest has been active in other community projects, including the redevelopment of Antelope Valley. He was among the business leaders who formed the 2015 Vision group that helped pave the way for the redevelopment of the West Haymarket and construction of Pinnacle Bank Arena.  

Seacrest has expertise and experience in intergovernmental cooperative agreements, said Rick Hoppe, chief of staff to Mayor Chris Beutler. He has also been involved in finding a stable structural and financing model for community learning centers, or CLCs, for several years, said Hoppe.

Seacrest said he worked with the CLC leadership group in 2010 looking at potential models for providing sustainability and funding. Creating a JPA that would give the learning centers stability came out of that discussion, Seacrest said. 

He is helping establish the structures for both the proposed JPA and for the Lincoln community learning center nonprofit governance organization, according to Hoppe.

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“We have not yet determined his role going forward," Hoppe said. 

Seacrest said he has been a fan of CLCs for 18 years. The joint public agency requires that only elected officials be on that board; but the biggest partner for CLCs is the nonprofit sector, he said, and the intention is for a nonprofit group to help advise the JPA.

He envisions the formation of a new nonprofit organization which would be eligible for grants at the national level.

The Lincoln Community Foundation gave the first CLC-related grant, a $100,000 children and youth initiative grant in 1999, said Bartle. In recent years the mayor, the school superintendent and a representative from the Lincoln Community Foundation served together as chairpersons for the CLC program, she said.

The foundation asked Seacrest to facilitate a process to help find a permanent structure for CLCs, she said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.



Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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