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Dist. U-46 Board approval continues ACE funding

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 voted 6-0, board member Veronica Noland being absent, on $88,000 in funding for the Alignment Collaborative for Education (ACE) at its Monday, Jan. 9 meeting.
  The amount was the same as requested last year by ACE, but its 73 percent higher than the $51,000 approved in 2021.
  In a letter with this request from Nancy Coleman, ACE’s executive director, and Bill Wright, ACE’s board chairman, ACE states it has reached “over 6,000 students for the calendar year 2022,” and the goal is for over 8,000 by May 2023.
  ACE expects $233,645 in revenue for 2022-2023, but no ACE budget was provided. Last year, ACE said it had $220,000 in revenue with 65 percent going towards two full-time staff, Coleman and executive assistant Adriana Armstrong. A third staff member has been added, according to the letter.
  “School District U-46’s funding of $88,000 generously supported 38 [percent] of Alignment’s needed operational budget with the remaining 62 [percent] being funded from business, community, municipal, and post-secondary support,” the letter stated. “With that level of support, Alignment was able to add a program manager, Edgar Montes, to the Alignment team, allowing the organization to offer more programming resulting in serving a record number of students.”
  ACE, comprised of business and government entities with a stated purpose to serve U-46, was founded in 2013 with an original promise that it would be fully funded through private donations, but U-46 taxpayers remain the largest individual funders of ACE.
  That promise is no longer valid as Coleman made no promises last year not to ask for future increases from the taxpayers saying “the more students that we serve, the more funding that we’re going to need.”

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