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Dist. U-46 Board poised to vote on proposals


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will be voting on over $600,000 in expenditure items as well as the district’s ability to use outside legal counsel to intervene on property tax appeals at its upcoming meeting on Monday, May 15. The items were presented on May 1.
  Jeff King, chief operations officer, said that the administration seeks intervention into property tax appeals every other year as the district requested to use the services of Franczek and Radelet.
  The purpose is “to intervene on our behalf when corporations file an objection to their property taxes” said King who added it’s “typically some of the larger corporations” such as banks and large retail stores.
  “We do not file any objections to residents when they seek relief from property taxes,” King said.
  Board member Sue Kerr asked how many cases the district typically sees each year, and how successful is the district in intervening. King said there are usually 20 to 30 a year and the district generally reaches a settlement, and he said on average the district refunds property taxpayers $150,000 which would be “three to four times” higher if the district did not intervene.
  On expenditure items, the district is seeking a one-year contract renewal with HERO costing $88,258 and coming out of the education fund, a one-year agreement with Solution Tree costing $27,000 to be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through Title I and II funds, a two-year contract with Sprint costing $119,971 coming out of the education fund, a bid with Forms Plastics costing $215,196 from the food and nutrition fund and a bid with Valor Technologies, Inc. costing $202,000 to come out of the capital projects and the operations and maintenance funds.
  Terri Lozier, assistant superintendent, said HERO is an attendance monitoring system that keeps track of tardy students but also awards points for positive behavior that can be used for things such as purchasing prom tickets. Lozier said there is an app parents can download that allows them to keep track of their child’s attendance.
  Casey Pearce, the board’s new student advisor from Bartlett High School, said students are unsure of how to access and redeem points. Lozier said this is relatively new, and principals are working on systems to better explain and utilize the system.
  Regarding the proposal with Sprint, the district said the cellular phone contract represents a savings of $79,656 from U-46’s current provider. Board member Jeanette Ward asked who in the district uses cellular devices from the district to which Laura Macias, director of information services, said it ranges from principals to plant operations employees and the district is looking to “standardize more” to figure out how many devices are needed.
  The proposal with Solution Trees is in regards to professional development, with Forms Plastics to purchase packaging supplies and with Valor Technologies, Inc. to remove the current gymnasium flooring at Elgin High School.

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