The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 approves variety of pacts and proposals
By Seth Hancock
The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved $6 million in contract renewals and bid proposals as well as a kindergarten science proposal, but one bid raised questions about the competitive nature of the bid on Monday, June 6.
There were five bids, all will be paid for out of the education fund, totaling $5.6 million approved 6-0, Veronica Noland was absent, under the consent agenda. One of those bids was $4.6 million with Heartland Business Systems to purchase a total of 9,279 HP computers, both laptops and desktops.
During public comments before the vote was taken, a representative of Dell spoke asking for the vote to be delayed because Dell could provide “significant and substantial savings for the district and its taxpayers.”
U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said the district didn’t directly bid out the purchase but rather it was a part of a state procurement contract.
“It’s a state bid, so it’s the lowest bid that the state can offer us through their contract,” Sanders said. “Furthermore, the difficulty in trying to pull this off the agenda tonight and put it back out is that this expenditure is in the budget for the current fiscal year.”
Rickey Sparks, director of Business Services, said: “As a governmental entity, we’re allowed to piggyback on any other governmental entity bids and processes that are rewarded.”
Sparks added that it “saves us the administrative cost of bidding it out ourselves.”
“I understand why this year, our backs are kind of against the wall and we can’t change this, but is it possible for next year that we can implement something” to improve the competitive process, board member Jeanette Ward asked.
Sanders said discussions could be had, but “historically for computers we have always gone off of the state bidding process if they have meet our specifications for computers.”
Board member Sue Kerr asked to clarify the state chose the bid which Sparks said was correct. Kerr asked: “The state, I assume they have to take the lowest bidder?”
Sparks said: “They go through the same process that we do, just at a larger scale.”
Board member Phil Costello asked if “the assumption is that by going through the larger scale, they will get a better deal than even U-46 might get,” which Sparks said “that’s correct.”
The other bids approved under the consent agenda were $371,233 broken up among five companies to standardize technology in the classroom, $588,404 to purchase iPad Air 2 tablets from Apple Computers, $32,000 with Beaird Group to provide oversight during implementation of the fifth proposal of $44,625 with HERO for software that tracks student attendance.
Also approved under the consent agenda was a membership renewal with the Illinois High School Association, as well as four contract renewals with SchoolDude.com ($34,632) out of the operations and maintenance fund, as well as with TurnItIn ($30,258), Novell ($158,672) and Sentinel Technologies ($147,397), all to be paid out of the education fund.
The board also approved 6-0 a kindergarten science proposal costing $104,460 for textbook resources from National Geographic as well as $10,200 for exploring science kits.
Ward has opposed full-day kindergarten which the proposal states these resources are for FDK classrooms, but at the previous meeting the administration said it will be used in half-day classrooms as well.
“This is a good resource,” Ward said. “It seems well balanced. I love the pictures…. It seems like a great resource.”
The board also unanimously approved $11.6 million under itemized bills as well as for setting the public hearing date for the Northern Kane County Regional Vocational System (NKCRVS) budget which will be on Monday, Aug. 1.
Dale Burnidge, director of Financial Operations, said the NKCRVS “is a joint agreement between U-46 and three other surrounding districts in Kane County” that’s made up entirely of grant funds for career and technical education.