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U-46 primed to vote on curriculum proposals

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will vote on a pair of science curriculum proposals as well as $3.7 million in expenditure items at its upcoming meeting on Monday, April 24. The items were presented on April 10.
  The curriculum pieces include an elementary science resource adoption, costing $1.8 million, as well as a secondary science curriculum proposal costing $3.3 million.
  Across the board, the proposal said all resources are “inquiry based and hands-on,” and if approved there are two professional development days scheduled before the end of this school year.
  “The next generation science standards have come into fruition, and we need to update our curriculum,” said Emily Weber, a third grade science teacher.
  Marc Hans, the district’s science coordinator, said there’s “continuity” among the resources that will help students as they advance grade levels and they align “with our new U-46 curriculum.” Hans said there will also be quarterly reviews to make sure the resources are working.
  For first and second grade the proposed resource is Pearson’s Interactive Science, for third and fourth it’s National Geographic’s Exploring Science and for fifth and sixth it’s Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s (HMH) Fusion Science Dimensions.
  For the secondary proposal the seventh and eighth grade resource is the Smithsonian’s STC Carolina Middle School Science and the high school resources all come from HMH: Science Dimensions Biology 2018, Chemistry 2017 and Physics 2017.
  Donna Kielbasa, seventh-grade teacher, said the current resources are from 2000 which “are older than our students that we have.”
  Don Selusnik, a chemistry teacher, said “science textbooks can be kind of hard to read” but the “interactive reader” with HMH makes science more interesting for students. He said students can learn science concepts such as nuclear explosions and jokingly admitted “which obviously we don’t want to be working in classrooms.”
  There were $3.1 million in bid and proposal items including one required per a new state law, a $53,940 item with Carnow, Conibear & Assoc., Ltd. for testing drinking water for lead. If approved, it would come out of the operations and maintenance fund.
  The testing is needed after the Lead in Drinking Water Prevention Act was signed into law in January.
  Board member Cody Holt asked: “Prior to this act becoming law, did U-46 in the past test our drinking water regularly?”
  Chris Allen, director of plant operations, said the district did not test the drinking water.
  Board member Sue Kerr asked if the state will be providing any funding which Allen said it was an unfunded mandate.
  The remaining bids and proposal included four that would come out of the capital projects and operations and maintenance funds: A $1.3 million expenditure with Laub Construction Inc. for bleacher and flooring replacement at Elgin High School and Harriet Gifford Elementary School, an $814,000 expenditure with Orange Crush LLC for parking lot pavement at Tefft Middle School, a $664,447 expenditure with Laub Construction for kitchen remodeling at Larsen Middle School and a $66,880 expenditure with EHC Industries for asbestos abatement and domestic water piping at Elgin High School.
  Two bids would be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers if approved including a of $156,130 expenditure, through a Perkins grant, with Iverson and Company to purchase vertical milling machines for Streamwood High School’s Precision Manufacturing Program and a $38,066. expenditure, through a Career and Technical Education Improvement grant, with Snap-On Industrial for machinery maintenance equipment for the same program at both Streamwood and South Elgin high schools.
  There were four contracts presented totaling over $600,000 including $62,039 to buy added VMware licenses and subscription renewal, $61,200 for a contract renewal with Tableau Software and $41,049 for additional Catalogic licenses to be paid for out of the education fund. A three-year contract renewal with Trane Chicago, costing $472,000 annually, would come out of the operations and maintenance funds.



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