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The Examiner U-46 News Feed

U-46 proposals reviewed for curriculum, expenses


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 will vote on a pair of art curriculum proposals as well as $4.9 million in expenditures over nine items at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Feb. 25. The items were presented on Feb. 4.
  The curriculum proposals are for secondary arts and a music production class at the DREAM Academy.
  The secondary art proposals would not be implemented until the 2020-2021 school year leaving the only current expenditures being proposed for professional development which will cost $11,800 initially, $550 annually.
  “We are not bringing forth a full resource proposal for secondary art right now since we are over a year out from the proposed implementation,” said Jaimie Abney-Giraldo, fine arts coordinator. “The quotes and the pricing information that we would have had for you today would have been drastically out of date by the time we were actually ready to make the purchases.”
  Abney-Giraldo said the proposal would align with the proposed career pathways as “currently we offer a wide variety of classes, but they are not directly tied to any careers.”
  Current courses would be phased out except for Fine Arts Studio, Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Arts (at Larkin High School) and AP Art History.
  Included are changes to the middle school curriculum where the plan is for four semester based courses as currently students can only take two quarters of art at that level. Art 1 and 2 (implementation in 2020-2021) could be taken by seventh and eighth graders while Art 3 and 4 (implementation in 2021-2022) would be for eighth graders.
  “We don’t want any students to not have access to art whether they begin Day 1 or they want to begin midway through their eighth grade year,” Abney-Giraldo said.
  High school arts would include three strands 2D Art, Photography and Design and 3D Art with introduction courses along with 11 total courses under the strands. Additional standalone courses for Commercial Art 1 and 2 are also proposed.
  Most of the high school courses would be implemented in 2020-2021 with the senior focused courses in 2021-2022. Abney-Giraldo said the courses would clarify what careers could be pursued by students with the skills from those courses.
  Along with the current Art Production course offered at the DREAM Academy, the district is proposing a Music Production course which students can repeat for credit for implementation in the 2019-2020 school year. Between recording technology and professional development it would cost $28,675 initially, $1,020 annually.
  Regarding the phasing out of current secondary art courses, board member Sue Kerr asked how it would affect students in courses such as jewelry.
  “One of the complaints I suspect the board will get was ‘they’re dropping this. What’s my kid going to take now?’” Kerr said.
  “When the new curriculum begins, the old curriculum will no longer be in place,” said Abney-Giraldo, but “we’re not dropping them. They’re all still there. We’re just repackaging them.”
  Board member Melissa Owens asked if high school students will be required to take the introductory courses under the specific strands and Abney-Giraldo said they’ll be able to enter the strands at “comparable levels” based on their skills.
  Regarding the additional expenditure proposals, the largest bid is $1.5 million to Mechanical Concepts for a chiller replacement at Streamwood’s Tefft Middle School. The cost would come out of the operations and maintenance fund if approved.
  Another chiller replacement proposal, at South Elgin’s Kenyon Woods Middle School, is priced at $849,597 (operations and maintenance) with AMS Mechanical Systems Inc.
  Kerr said Kenyon Woods is only 15 years old and was surprised to see the need for the replacement, but she noted the district citing high calcium levels in the water requiring the replacement.
  Sheila Downs, director of plant operations, said the water supply chosen by individual villages affects the water supply as “a lot of the water is not the best quality” at some schools.
  Owens asked if Bartlett schools will benefit from the village’s move to Lake Michigan water, which is planned to occur in the middle of May, and Downs said: “We’re assuming that it will.”
  Board member Jeanette Ward said water softeners could be an option. She asked: “In this case, if a water softener had been put in it might have saved the chiller right?”
  Downs said the district is “vetting” that option and “looking at it district-wide” as they have already met with vendors.
  Two proposals for Elgin High School projects would cost $972,839 (operations and maintenance) with Northwest Contractors Inc. for the second phase of a domestic water piping replacement project $867,000 (operations and maintenance and life safety funds) with Associated Electrical Contractors, LLC for main electrical service replacement.
  At South Elgin’s Clinton Elementary School the district is proposing a boiler replacement costing $479,597 (operations and maintenance and life safety funds) with AMS Mechanical Systems Inc.
  With Snap-on Industrial, the district is seeking to purchase precision manufacturing kits costing $65,952 to be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through grant funds.
  The district is proposing a $60,449 expense (operations and maintenance) with Applied Communications Group for wireless access point installation at U-46’s plant operations and distributions center.
  Seeking magnet status for U-46 high schools under the career pathways, the district is asking for a $44,700 expenditure (education fund) with Magnet Schools of America which will have on-site visits for two years.
  Board member Phil Costello asked for clarification on the cost if the $44,700 was annual and Kinasha Brown, director of educational pathways, said it was total over the two years.
  The district will also ask the board to approve a $34,647 expense (operations and maintenance) that was already spent on an emergency replacement of pool circulation pump, volute and accompanying piping after a failure at Streamwood High School.
  Ward asked a logistical question as she said: “I understand this was an emergency. How do we decide what vendor to use when an emergency comes into being?”
  Downs said there was only one available vendor in this case but “typically we have a list of vendors that we have within the department.” She said there’s a “delicate balance” between price and speed of service “especially when there’s an emergency and there’s a direct impact to the staff and students.”
  Costello noted that several of the proposals were similar but the district used different vendors, and he asked if the district looked at packaging proposals to potentially receive a lower price. Downs said “we’re actually looking to do that in other areas” and “where possible we’re definitely exploring that.”

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