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The Examiner U-46 News Feed

U-46 primed to vote on hearing date, expenses


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will take its first vote of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget cycle, which is to set the public hearing, as well as $3.5 million of expenditure items at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Aug. 1.
  The board heard the budget plans at its meeting on Monday, July 18. The budget will be presented on Aug. 15, a public hearing to be held on Sept. 12, and a final vote on Sept. 26, while a board Finance Committee meeting will be held prior to the work session meeting on Aug. 1.
  Currently the tentative budget reflects a deficit of $4.2 million with expenditures at $513.2 million, an increase of $5.6 million from the prior year, and revenues at $509 million, an increase of $15 million.
  However, the final budget to be presented may look different according to U-46 CEO Tony Sanders.
  “Between now and Aug. 15, there’s a lot of work to do to finalize the budget document,” Sanders said.
  The board will also vote on a resolution allowing the continued use of mobile classrooms at district schools. The resolution is for a total of 20 mobiles (39 total classroom) which is expected to decrease early in the upcoming school year.
  Jeff King, chief Operations officer, said schools that are receiving additions were included on the list “in case for some unpredictable reason we had to rely on those to start the school year.” He said he doesn’t “foresee that at this point,” and the district expects to remove those mobiles and have them destroyed early in the 2016-17 school year.
  Board member Sue Kerr asked if the mobiles would be used for any art or music classes, which King said “at least three of them” would be.
  For expenditure items, a proposal with HERO would come at a cost of $27,519 which would be paid for out of the education fund. HERO is a tardy accountability system.
  During public comments at the July 18 meeting, a parent said that she has seen a lack of uniformity in levying punishments for tardy students across the district’s five high schools.
  Kerr asked if HERO would be used across all high schools, which Terri Lozier, assistant superintendent, said it would with the “same level of consequences, loss of privileges across all five sites.”
  Board member Phil Costello asked if the district has “things for perfect attendance, exemplary” for positive reinforcement, which Lozier said the district does have perfect attendance rewards and “the HERO platform also allows us to keep track of positive behaviors.” Although Lozier said attendance is expected, the hope is some positive reinforcement will help serve as a lesson for those losing privileges for not showing up to class.
  The board will be asked to approve a one-year contract renewal with the College Board at a cost of $91,854, out of the education fund, for the SAT Suite of Assessments. Sanders said the Illinois State Board of Education has determined the “SAT will be the test of choice across the state of Illinois” and noted that the PARCC test will no longer be given to high school students “which I believe is a step in the right direction.”
  A one-year contract totaling $192,500, to be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through IDEA grant funds, with Geneva Hearing Services will be voted on to provide “audiology and equipment relating to providing the program for hearing impaired students.”
  Costello asked if any former U-46 employees were employed by Geneva Hearing Services with a concern that “maybe they’re going to get more money if they’re contracting rather than as employees.” Valerie Brosius, assistant director of Specialized Student Services, said “to my knowledge at the time, that’s not the case” and that the district looks to employ staff from within before contracting in answering a question from Donna Smith, the board’s president.
  A one-year contract renewal with News-2-You, costing $47,933 and coming out of the education fund, will be voted on. The cost is an increase of nearly $10,000 from last year.
  Addressing a question from before the meeting by board member Jeanette Ward regarding the increase in price, Brosius said “we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples” as the district will now receive 100 licenses compared to 50 last year and the program offers more this year.
  “If you went from 50 subscribers to now 100, I mean certainly it answers it right there,” Ward said.
  Five more contracts will be voted on including a one-year renewals with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ($75,850), to come out of the education fund, and esped.com ($58,366), to come out of the special education fund.
  Using IDEA grant money are one-year renewals with Northwestern Illinois Association ($70,141), as well as a $630,000 contract with five vendors and a $2.3 million contract that encompasses 18 vendors.

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