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U-46 primed to vote on budget, pact renewals

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will be voting on the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget, contract renewals for School Resource Officers (SRO) among other items at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Sept. 26.
  The items were discussed at the Monday, Sept. 12 meeting including the budget which is set to increase expenditures by $3.8 million to $511.4 million and revenues by $18.1 million to $512.1 million.
  The SRO “contracts represent the salary increases for the officers as we pay a percentage of that, not the full amount” according to John Heiderscheidt, director of School Safety and Culture, who said the overall cost to U-46 is about a 3.2 percent increase over last year, from $884,229 to $905,409 for 14 officers and from $79,500 to $89,500 for overtime costs.
  SROs are at all district secondary schools and will come from four police departments: Seven from Elgin, three from Streamwood and two each from Bartlett and South Elgin.
  Heiderscheidt said the added overtime cost was an estimate for contingency purposes, and he said there were some language changes.
  Added language to Section 4.2 of the contract states: “School Resource Officers are not school disciplinarians, and will not enforce the Student Code of Conduct.”
  Board member Jeanette Ward said “I was glad that was added and that you called that out,” and Heiderscheidt said that police chiefs in the district were also glad to have that language added.
  Board member Phil Costello noted that there are more cameras being used in the district and noted that language change and asked if the SROs are doing less work now, but Heiderscheidt said that there isn’t less work as the SROs were never meant to be used for school discipline but rather are “involved in law violations,” and the language change is “just making it clear where we all stand.”
  Board member Cody Holt thanked Heiderscheidt and the police and said:  “I think it’s a very important thing that we have in the schools.” 
  Ward also expressed appreciation for the added police presence that evening at an emotional public comments portion of the meeting spurred on by an impending policy and practice in the district.
  The board also was presented with a resolution regarding guidelines for reimbursement procedure to staff and board members regarding costs related to travel. Jeff King, chief Operations officer, said there were already guidelines in place but “we had to make some modifications” due to the enactment of the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act recently approved by the Illinois General Assembly.
  King said the guidelines will also add language regarding board member expenses as “any expenditure by a board member has to be approved by the full board.”
  Also to be voted on are four expenditure items costing $2.4 million which includes a $1.1 million expenditure, out of the education fund, with HAPP Builders, Inc. to update the Elgin and Streamwood high school libraries.
  Jackie Johnson, coordinator of Secondary Literacy and Libraries, said the construction will “create learning spaces within our libraries that provide an area for collaboration, creation and for both independent, small group, large group learning.” She added that the Elgin library was built in 1968 and Streamwood in 1978, and no renovations have been made since.
  Board member Sue Kerr asked if the libraries will be appropriately staffed and Costello asked how the district plans on measuring student utilization of the libraries. Johnson said “our libraries are the heart of our buildings, and this is where learning can happen” and this plan is about creating more access to the libraries.
  Ward noted that the proposal expects more digital learning capabilities from this and asked if that will create more self-direction for student learning, and Johnson said “the hope is always self-direction by the end.”
  A pair of contract renewals, one-year with Active Network/Bluebear Software ($52,102) and three-year with Computer Information Concepts ($1 million), will be paid via the education fund if approved.
  A three-year contract renewal with Tyler Technologies, Inc. ($225,460) for GPS units would come out of the transportation fund if approved. Costello asked about potential cost savings and efficiencies from this contract to which Andy Martin, director of Transportation, said: “I think the biggest advantage we have seen is the safety aspect and just the ability to track vehicles.”
  That evening, the board unanimously approved the action plans created regarding concussion protocol as well as $18.5 million in itemized bills.



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