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Expense proposals up for vote at U-46 meeting

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will vote on five expenditure proposals totaling $1.9 million at its upcoming meeting on Monday, May 21. The items were presented on May 7.
  Included is a three-year contract renewal with Ombudsman costing $1.1 million and coming out of the education fund if approved. Ombudsman is an alternative program for at-risk students.
  According to the proposal, the program is “used for students who are expelled and for students with behavior or attendance issues to which the normal school environment is not appropriate for their educational needs.”
  Along with expelled students, Ombudsman is used by students who “have dropped out of school” according to a memo to the board.
  The district is asking to purchase 65 slots in the program, up from 61 this year, and it claims that with the three-year renewal U-46 will save $46,410.
  “We typically have a waiting list for Ombudsman slots. However, Ombudsman only charges for the days and the slots we use,” the memo states.
  Also to be voted on is a proposal with a total cost of $67,298 between Konica Minolta ($23,261) and Canon Solutions America ($44,036) to purchase three copiers. The expense would come from the education fund.
  According to the proposal, the purchase would replace copiers that are between 13 and 17 years old.
  Board member Phil Costello asked what’s being done to reduce paper consumption in the district and converting documents to electronic form. He said at the park district level, where he is a public administrator, there has been a big reduction in costs by moving away from paper and encouraged the district to “really strongly push” in that direction.
  Bruce Phelps, senior business official, said “each front office building has a copier, and then the copy room has a copier” and “we don’t go beyond that,” and these copiers are multi-functional (scanner, fax machine, printer) which will reduce the number of machines needed. He added the secondary math curriculum recently adopted will be fully online and other such classes will move in that direction which will reduce the need for paper.
  The board will vote on a $313,356 expenditure for copy paper, to come from the education fund, with Veritive ($288,834) for white copy paper and Office Depot ($24,522) for color copy paper. The purchase would include 10,920 cases of paper over three years.
  Board member Jeanette Ward said at her daughters’ school parents have been asked to bring in copy paper, and she asked why if copy paper is included in the budget.
  The district stated in its memo: “Schools should not be asking parents to supply paper since they have been directed not to make such requests. Schools have made the requests in the past so they can expend their school budgets on other items.”
  Board member Sue Kerr asked how the paper is allotted to schools. Phelps said “each school has a paper budget.”
  The board will also vote on a $60,200 item with Colfax Corporation to come out of the capital projects and life safety funds. The proposal is to replace mechanical equipment at Streamwood’s Canton Middle School which currently contains asbestos materials.
  With Stabilizer Solutions, the board will vote on a proposal costing $338,080 (operations and maintenance fund) to purchase Hilltopper Infield Mix to upgrade the softball fields at Bartlett, Elgin, Larkin and Streamwood high schools.
  The dirt mix was donated to the district by DePaul University previously for use at South Elgin High School “as a beta test” according to the proposal.
  “The results have been increased consistent playability, safety and less labor to get the field in playable condition on a daily basis,” the proposal states.
  Kerr asked if the work will include a total tear out of the infields to replace them with the new mix to which Chris Allen, director of plant operations, said that was “correct.” Allen said it should reduce maintenance costs of the fields.
  Ward asked why there was only one bid. Allen said the mix is patented and Stabilizer Solutions, out of Arizona, is the only supplier.





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