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U-46 Board approves variety of expenditures

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved $1.9 million in expenditure proposals at its meeting on Monday, June 18. The items were all approved by 6-1 votes,  with newly seated board member John Devereux abstaining. (The 6-1 tally is an incorrect tabulation by U-46. The correct vote total would be 6-0 with one abstention. An abstention is not recorded as either a yes or no vote, but as an abstention.)
  The highest costing proposal was with Dell Marketing LP to purchase 2,712 desktop computers with a price tag of $1.2 million, which will come from the education fund.
  The desktops will “replace aging and obsolete equipment” according to the proposal which also stated: “Current models are extremely slow; they do not have the necessary Random Access Memory (RAM) to perform efficiently. Equipment is also out of warranty.”
  The board approved a two-year contract with Northern Illinois University costing $224,000, paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through federal grant funds, to allow current U-46 teachers to take classes in order to obtain a Learning Behavior Specialist I endorsement.
  The proposal states that the district “experienced challenges in filling special education positions. This cohort will support efforts to grow our own special education teachers by providing the opportunity for teachers to acquire the necessary endorsement.”
  Teachers who take part in it would have to commit to staying with U-46 for five years or pay the tuition back administrators said when the proposal was presented earlier in June.
  A one-year contract renewal with CDW-G costing $127,796 (education fund) for Microsoft Office Suite licensing was approve as was a one-year contract renewal with Sentinel costing $119,697 (education fund) for a technical support agreement “to its telecommunications network Cisco licenses and hardware,” the proposal states.
  The Sentinel “agreement enables the District to receive support from Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week year round,” according to the proposal. “It also includes license updates, hardware replacement with a next business day delivery, remote diagnosis/repairs and loaner equipment. The agreement ensures the network is maintained and repaired in a timely and comprehensive manner.”
  A proposal with Southpaw costing $74,247 (federal grant funds) was approved. It will go towards seven sensory rooms for special education students to “create relaxing and calming yet stimulating environments that work to develop users’ sensory needs,” according to the proposal.
  With Brecht’s Database Solutions, the board approved a $55,433 expenditure (federal grant funds). The proposal states: “The funding is to be used to adopt a new primary data management system that will support IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), 504 plans, service log management and Medicaid billing and claims. The department needs to consolidate all specialized student services systems into one location. The system selected must be cost effective, user friendly and time efficient as compared to the current system(s).”
  A contract renewal costing $38,200 (education fund) with Heartland Business Systems was approved for AirWatch software which would allow the district to manage and track student usage of tablets, or iPads.
  “This mobile device management solution allows Information Services staff to install and maintain district-approved applications on iPads, plus create and manage individual user profiles,” the proposal states. “The management of user profiles is critical when working in an environment where the students share devices.”
  With Frontline Education, the board approved a contract renewal costing $31,717 (education fund) for software pertaining to U-46’s human resources information system. A contract renewal costing $25,000 (education fund) was also approved with the American Reading Company for Schoolpace, a “platform for reading teachers to collect formative student reading evidence and data on a daily basis,” according to the proposal.
  Also receiving 6-0 votes, Devereux abstaining, were four resolutions including authorizing the district to take part in federal and state programs, approving of hazardous transportation area designations (street crossings that are deemed dangerous for students to cross), allowing a transfer of interest earnings to the transportation fund and allowing Jeff King, chief operating officer, to pay down some of the district’s debt.
  The board voted 7-0 to approve $6.3 million in itemized bills.
  Devereux was seated to a vacant spot on the board that evening and explained why he abstained on several votes.
  “While I’ve done my best to do my homework and get caught up to speed, I don’t think it’s appropriate if I wasn’t present during the presentations and deliberations in the past to cast the vote on some of those items,” Devereux said.
  Along with the itemized bills, Devereux did vote on three contested items voting for the prevailing wage resolution (approved 5-2, Phil Costello and Jeanette Ward voting no), updates to the student code of conduct (approved 5-2, Costello and Ward voting no) and travel expenses for board members and U-46 CEO Tony Sanders to the Illinois Association of School Boards conference in Chicago (approved 6-1, Costello voting no).






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