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Emergency expenses among U-46 approvals

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved expenditure items totaling $5.2 million among other items at its two regular meetings in February on Feb. 4 and Feb. 25.
  Included were three emergency repairs that have already been completed but still needed board approval.
  Board member Jeanette Ward asked about the logistics on such items and Sheila Downs, director of plant operations, said “typically we have a list of vendors” and 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.”
  One emergency item for replacement of a pool circulation pump, volute and accompanying piping after a failure at Streamwood High School ($34,647 with Thomas Pump Company, Inc.; operations and maintenance fund) was completed in early December and presented to the board on Feb. 4 with a vote on Feb. 25.
  The two other emergency items, repair of building automation equipment at Streamwood’s Hanover Countryside Elementary School ($46,783 with Trane U.S., Inc.; operations and maintenance) and repair of pool sound system at Bartlett High School ($25,072 with Sound Incorporated Integrated Technologies; operations and maintenance), were both presented and voted on at the same meeting on Feb. 25.
  “Given the nature of these types of repairs that are already completed, we are suggesting that in the future we bring these forward to discussion/action for expediency,” said U-46 CEO Tony Sanders.
  The repair at Hanover Countryside took place on Dec. 31, 2018 as the automation equipment “controls the heating and cooling system” at the school according to the proposal.
  “We reached a point where we lost complete control of the heating and cooling system,” the proposal stated. “This resulted in the inability to control the building temperature. As a result, rooms began to overheat. Thus, spaces throughout the building were very uncomfortable for students and staff.”
  The pool sound system repair at Bartlett took place over the Christmas break, and the proposal states: “This system is required by the State. Therefore, the absence of a working sound system is considered a code violation.”
  Board member Sue Kerr asked if the problems associated with the emergencies have been resolved which the administration said they were.
  There were a pair of chiller replacements approved at Streamwood’s Tefft Middle School ($1.5 million with Mechanical Concepts; operations and maintenance) and at South Elgin’s Kenyon Woods Middle School ($849,597 with AMS Mechanical Systems Inc.; operations and maintenance). A proposal for chiller control panel replacements at Bartlett and Streamwood high schools ($156,369 with Trane; operations and maintenance) was also approved.
  Two proposals for Elgin High School projects were approved costing $972,839 (operations and maintenance) with Northwest Contractors Inc. for a domestic water piping replacement project and $867,000 (operations and maintenance and life safety funds) with Associated Electrical Contractors, LLC for main electrical service replacement.
  An approved boiler replacement at South Elgin’s Clinton Elementary School costs $479,597 (operations and maintenance and life safety funds) with AMS.
  A three-year contract with Comcast costing $150,480 (education fund) to provide SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)/VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) trunk services was approved.
  A proposal with Snap-on Industrial ($65,952 to be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through federal grant funds) for precision manufacturing kits, a bid with Applied Communications Group ($60,449; operations and maintenance) for wireless access point installation at U-46’s plant operations and distributions center and a two-year contract with Magnet Schools of America ($44,700; education fund) to seek magnet status at district high schools were all approved.
  There were two curriculum proposals approved including for secondary arts for implementation in the 2020-2021 school year with current associated costs of $11,800 initially, $550 annually, as well as a Music Production course at the DREAM Academy starting in 2019-2020 costing $28,675 initially, $1,020 annually.
  Itemized bills totaling $14.5 million on Feb. 4 and $8.8 million on Feb. 25 were approved. Included in the Feb. 25 bills was $96,500 with Great Lakes Snow Systems, Inc. from the special education fund which board member Phil Costello asked if that was a normal expenditure or “related to the weather,” but the administration said it would have to get back to him on it.
  The board approved of school improvement plans submitted by all U-46 schools. Board member John Devereux asked for clarification on “what exactly” they were voting on and Sanders said: “By law, you have to approve the school improvement plans…. By law, we can point that you voted on them.”
  A tax abatement of $9.6 million was approved. The stated effect by the district of the abatement is to keep property tax rates flat despite increasing the levy, but any relief created by it now will be paid for by property taxpayers in the future.
  A charter for a U-46 Retirement Committee was expecting a vote on Feb. 4 but was pulled from the agenda by Sanders. No future date for a vote has been set.




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