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Expense items ratified by District U-46 board vote

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 voted unanimously, via a 7-0 vote, approved a pair of items, including one that suggests distance learning will extend into next year, at its meeting on Monday, April 12.
  Both items were presented and voted on that same evening.
  Included was a $466,900 purchase of 2,300 monitors from Dell Technologies, which will be paid for through the education fund. The proposal states the monitors will allow teachers “to see their remote students, while they are presenting to their in-person students on the interactive board.”
  Also approved was a $1.1 million expenditures for summer recreational programming with Three Fires Council ($378,000), Golden Corridor YMCA ($233,100), Boys and Girls Club of Elgin ($214,200), City of Elgin ($147,735), Streamwood Park District ($53,550), the Learning Tree of East Elgin ($32,760), the Learning Tree of West Elgin ($32,760) and Side Street Studio Arts ($16,538).
  Although the district enters into similar contracts each year, the proposal states it is for a “Post-COVID Response to Learning” allowing U-46 to force the nation’s taxpayers to fund the local programs. The proposal also states it will be funded through the education fund but reimbursed with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and American Recovery Act, both federal bailout plans.
  The district will also be providing race-based preferential programming specifically for Black students.
  Suzanne Johnson, deputy superintendent of instruction, outlined elementary programs including extended school year, summer expanded recreational programming and early childhood.
  Additionally, there’s a new coordinated early intervention service for “frequently overidentified” students for special education, Johnson said. She said: “Specifically in U-46, that is our African-American students who are being identified and then qualified for our emotional disabilities programming.”
  Also, Johnson said summer instruction will “have a numeracy and literacy focus as well as an integrate Afrocentric experience for students also.”
  Secondary programs include summer school, middle school experience, freshman connection, college jumpstart and extended school year.
  Board member Eva Porter said “marginalized groups… they are the ones who maybe don’t respond to take the opportunity,” and Johnson said “we’ll certainly reach out” to school administrators to identify students.
  Porter asked about training for the contract partners “for the social-emotional, the things that Gov. Pritzker mentioned” regarding lost education due to his, and the school board’s, decision to shut the state down. Johnson said programs were selected to address those concerns.

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