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U-46 Board approves three separate proposals


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved $1.1 million over three proposals by a 6-0 vote, board member John Devereux was absent, at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 1.
  The largest item was $1 million with FUSION/BIRCH, which will come out of the education fund, to provide analog phone lines.
  The proposal states: “The Analog Phone RFP was issued for the analog lines the District uses for critical applications that MUST have dial tone available at all times. Analog phone service is the most reliable regarding dial tone availability…. It is mission critical to maintain analog lines to support these critical applications until a suitable alternative becomes available.”
  The analog lines are used for security, elevators, faxes and the district’s red phone and SAFE (supervised activities for children of employed parents) programs, according to the proposal.
  The red phone program is “used in an emergency and is easily identifiable due to its color and location in the office,” the proposal states, and the SAFE phone program is a “self-sustaining DCFS license-exempt program designed to provide quality before and after school care to children in School District U-46 currently enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade while their parents work or further their own education.”
  FUSION/BIRCH was the lower of two qualified bidders. Two bidders, AT&T and Comcast, were disqualified for noncompliance to U-46’s directions for submitting a bid.
  The board approved a $56,000 expenditure with Elgin Community College (ECC) to provide private instrument lessons to students in Larkin’s visual and performing arts academy. The cost will be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through Title I funds.
  According to the proposal “students enrolled in their instrumental programs have instrumental lessons as part of the program” and “many of the students enrolled in the instrumental programs do not have access to lessons…. Lessons will occur on a once-per-week basis and the Title I office will be billed on a semester basis. The cost will be billed by student, by lesson.”
  Board member Sue Kerr said the proposal stated the lessons will be open to all students and asked how many students are expected to use it.
  Trisha Shrode, director of curriculum and instruction, said the district has budgeted for 60 students and added: “When we say that it’s open to all students, we pay additional private instrument lesson vendors. They just don’t rise to the level that we’d need to come to the board.”
  Also approved was a $27,825 expenditure from the education fund for the renewals of 1,085 licenses through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The licenses are for READ 180 and System 44.
  The proposal called READ 180 a “multimedia program that is designed to meet the specific needs of students whose reading achievement is below grade level” and System 44 a “foundational reading program designed for the struggling readers.”
  Bruce Phelps, senior business official of business services, said in response to questions from board member Melissa Owens that this will be used for general education and is typically used at the middle school level.

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