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A group of community members reviewing the building needs of Lincoln Public Schools — and ultimately making recommendations on the next bond issue — is looking for feedback from northwest Lincoln residents.

A subcommittee looking specifically into the need for more elementary and middle schools organized the meetings.

The question is particularly difficult in northwest Lincoln, which includes Air Park, separated by the airport and a flood plain, and Interstate 80, that creates a substantial barrier between neighborhoods such as Fallbrook and the Highlands.

“It’s a unique part of town,” said Seth Derner, one of the subcommittee co-chairs. “There are diverse neighborhoods separated by all these barriers. That’s why we thought let’s at least give people the chance to give us their perceptions, and tell us what’s important to them.”

The subcommittee wants feedback on three possible options it has come up with and welcomes other ideas, Derner said.

The subcommittee ideas include:

* A new middle school that would take fifth graders from Arnold and Kooser elementary schools to relieve overcrowding at those schools. It would be a temporary solution for five to seven years — the amount of time between district bond issues in recent years.

* Include eighth graders in a new high school. If (and this is a yet-to-be-answered question being debated by another committee) a high school were to be built in northwest Lincoln, that could be another temporary solution to overcrowding at Schoo and Goodrich middle schools. It would be similar to North Star's opening, when middle-school students attended there for a number of years. 

* Build a new K-8 school. This would be a longer-term solution. It could be two buildings on the same campus or one building configured to separate older and younger students. Derner said it's a solution that's been popular in a number of Colorado districts. 

About 15 residents attended the first meeting Thursday in Fallbrook, he said.

The next meetings will be:

* April 23 from 5-6 p.m. (child care and pizza provided) at Arnold Learning Center, 5000 Mike Scholl St.

* May 7 at Kooser Elementary, 7301 N. 13th St., as part of a PTO meeting. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist.

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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