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U-46 approves proposals, sponsorship of lacrosse


By Seth Hancock
  School District U-46 will spend $25,000 on the Alignment Collaborative for Education (ACE) for a year while lacrosse will officially become a district sponsored sport as the Board of Education approved the items, among others, on Monday, Dec. 4.
  ACE was amended from the administration’s request for $25,000 a year for three years down to a one-year $25,000 commitment as the board’s majority cited a lack of transparency for wanting to give a short-term commitment right now and looking at a longer commitment in the future.
  The vote was 6-1 as board member Jeanette Ward voted no citing some of the transparency issues as well as some of the contradictory information given to the board in the past about ACE.
  Ward did leave open the possibility of voting to commit funds in the future to ACE stating “at least for this year, I’m voting no.”
  “I was initially supportive of this program when I was under the impression that it was at no cost to U-46 and that businesses were merely volunteering their resources to collaborate with U-46, and I would still be supportive tonight if that were the case,” Ward said.
  Last year, U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said “this is all paid for through fundraising” but went on to say “there was a portion to kick it off from U-46, from Elgin, from some of our municipalities and others.”
  The funding “essentially” is for funding the salaries and benefits of an executive director and administrative assistant as well as “to support the work of the alignment initiative” Sanders said.
  When presented at the Nov. 20 meeting, Ward asked what the salaries were but the administration did not know. Prior to the Dec. 4 meeting, Ward again asked what the salary was but a memo to the board stated: “Administration is unaware of the Executive Director’s salary.”
  Ward said she was “uncomfortable with committing taxpayer money in partnership with private business to an organization with somewhat nebulous and un-measurable goals” and that “I just would like it more specifically nailed down how we’re going to measure these.”
  “How will we measure the effectiveness of ACE? If the district expects the work of ACE to lead to improved academic results, what are the improved results we expect to see?” Ward asked before the meeting.
  The administrative memo pointed Ward to a previous presentation by ACE in January of this year in which is stated the hope is to help in “closing the achievement gap” to “lower risky behaviors” among other things, none of which had specific goals to benchmark the success of ACE.
  Regarding lacrosse, the board approved the district sponsorship of two co-op boys lacrosse programs as well as one girls co-op program, all including a varsity and JV team, for the district by a 7-0 vote. The boys teams include one at Bartlett, which will be a co-op with Streamwood, and one at South Elgin, a co-op with Elgin and Larkin, and the girls team will be open to all U-46 high schools.
  Approved by 7-0 votes were a five-year proposal with Hayes Software Systems ($832,916), which will come from the education fund, and a proposal with Happ Builders Inc. ($643,700), coming from the capital projects fund, as well as $6.1 million in itemized bills.
  The board also approved by a 7-0 vote an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of South Elgin on a five-year contract renewal allowing the village use of athletic fields, the gym and parks at Fox Meadow Elementary School.

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