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Six proposals slated for District U-46 board vote

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will vote on $1.1 million in expenditure items over six proposals at its upcoming Monday, Sept. 24 meeting. The items were presented on Monday, Sept. 10.
  The largest item is $417,638 for the purchase of technology for Title I schools which would be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through Title I funds if approved. The purchase would include 698 student chromebooks, 184 student laptops and 15 touch display boards from Dell Marketing LP ($329,748) and 22 smart boards from Pace ($87,890).
  Board member Melissa Owens asked if this was for replacement of old equipment or for new equipment to which Trisha Shrode, director of curriculum and instruction, said “mainly replacement.”
  “Given the sheer volume of some of our older devices in our Title I buildings, this is to make up kind of that gap between what was removed and what they think is necessary,” Shrode said.
  With Tierney, the district is asking to spend $225,576 through grant funds for 30 zSpace systems and its software for virtual reality labs at Elgin and Larkin high schools. Additionally, there would be a $82,500 annual licensing fee which the district plans to use grant funds for.
  The systems would provide for augmented reality and virtual reality learning for automotive, healthcare science and welding programs.
  Some of the features, according to the proposal, would allow automotive students to “access a fleet of vehicles… to practice technical skills,” or providing healthcare science students a better “understanding of the human body system and functions and performance of clinical skills” with the ability for “full human body dissection, gross anatomy labs, and access to a library of medical scans.”
  Asked by Owens about potential expansion of the systems to further schools, the district said: “After one year of full implementation, we will access the feasibility of expanding to other high schools.”
  Kinasha Brown, director of career pathways, said at the meeting that Elgin and Larkin were chosen because of their “multiple programs in one school.” Elgin houses all three programs while Larkin has both automotive and healthcare science.
  Regarding the healthcare science, board member Jeanette Ward said it would allow students to practice on a virtual patient and board member Sue Kerr said it allows students to learn about the parts of the heart and bones in the body. Brown said it wouldn’t be used for “clinically based competency” but focusing more on “gross anatomy.”
  Another proposal costing $224,450, from the district safety budget, is with South Elgin’s Hargrave Builders Inc. for the third phase of a district-wide lockdown hardware project.
  “The work included with this bid will provide for the installation of specific locking hardware in existing doors and select doors and frames at Bartlett High School and South Elgin High  School,” the proposal states.
  U-46 is asking for a $103,500 contract renewal through federal grant funds with Career Staff Unlimited for a school psychologist to supplement district staff with the “most immediate need” at Bartlett’s Centennial and Elgin’s Highland elementary schools according to the proposal which also states: “Current staff does not have the availability to support more students effectively or attend additional IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings.”
  Board member Phil Costello asked before the meeting “how many students are projected to benefit” from the proposal and the district stated: “The number of students is dependent upon the caseload numbers. At this time, it is projected to be in three buildings and have four working days.”
  A proposal with Dale Carnegie Training costing $58,800 (education fund) would go towards professional development for administrators and would “include 25 hours of training per person for 30 people,” the proposal states.
  The proposal states it will help “build greater self-confidence and meaning in work, strengthen people skills to build team trust and collaboration, enhance communication skills and inspire action, develop leadership skills to motivate and problem solve and to reduce stress and improve their attitude toward change.”
  Kerr asked about the feedback given by administrators after last year with Dale Carnegie to which Jeff King, deputy superintendent of operations, said “the feedback was very positive” and staff was “really starving for more of that.”
  The district is also asking for a contract renewal with Heartland Business Systems costing $29,844 (education fund) for purchasing and financial department reports software, Microsoft Dynamics GP2016.





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