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U-46 approves expenses totalling $10.8 million

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved $10.8 million in expenditure proposals as well as the public release of 61 closed session minutes at its meeting on Monday, June 4. Board member Veronica Noland voted via phone as she was absent from the meeting.
  Included were three items from the transportation fund totaling over $7 million including a $4.5 million three-year contract with Petroleum Traders, a $2.6 million purchase with Midwest Transit Equipment, Inc. and a $200,734 purchase with Safety Vision.
  The item with Safety Vision was for the purchase of 130 high definition cameras to be placed in district school buses. The proposal stated: “This purchase is being made to continue to furnish video equipment for U-46 school buses that currently do not have video equipment and to replace obsolete video systems.”
  A mother of a Prairieview Elementary School student who spoke during public comments said a camera on her daughter’s school bus during a field trip would have been helpful after an incident occurred this year which the parent said she was unhappy with the investigation by U-46.
  The proposal stated this purchase will “provide a camera system in every U-46 school bus” and it will “assist in resolving conflicts that occur on the bus…. Cameras provide real time documentation of the events that did or did not occur on the bus.”
  The three-year contract with Petroleum Traders will provide 1.7 million gallons of diesel fuel at a price of $2.4917 per gallon and 135,000 gallons gasoline at a price of $2.1123 per gallon. With Midwest Transit Equipment, the district will purchase 32 buses at a price of $2.9 million while U-46 will be trading in 32 buses at a value of $289,500.
  Also approved was a three-year contract renewal with United Healthcare at an estimated cost of $2.1 million a year (education, operations and maintenance and transportation funds).
  The proposal stated United Healthcare provides “medical and dental claims administration, access to the United Healthcare Choice Plus provider network and corresponding discounts, individual stop-loss coverage, administration of medical savings accounts, and billing services for retiree and COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) continuation insurance administration.”
  A $628,919 expenditure (education fund) with Office Depot to purchase 5,770 chairs and 5,650 desks for secondary schools, a $503,795 expenditure (education fund) with Dell Marketing LP to buy 1,548 Chromebooks and 42 Chromebook carts and a $194,359 expenditure (operations and maintenance fund) with Elliott Equipment Company to replace a bucket lift truck were all approved. The board also unanimously approved $7.7 million in itemized bills.
  The 61 closed session minutes, which are partially redacted, that were approved for public release included 29 from 2009 and 31 from 2010. This comes after the board released 70 total closed session minutes from 2007 and 2008, the first time the board has released closed session minutes in recent history.
  Board member Jeanette Ward has been asking for more transparency from closed session meetings since taking her seat in 2015, and she thanked Miguel Rodriguez, chief legal officer, for going through the minutes.
  “I wanted to thank administration for all the work, especially Miguel and your group, that you did to go through these and make them redacted and available to the public,” Ward said.






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