The Examiner U-46 News Feed
Multiple U-46 expenses to be voted upon April 1
By Seth Hancock
The Board of Education in School District U-46 is set to vote on expenditure items totaling $596,820 at its upcoming meeting on Monday, April 1. The items were presented on March 18.
Included is a $96,000 three-year contract with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) for professional development. It will be paid for through the education fund if approved.
According to the proposal, UIC “will collaborate with the leadership of School District U46 to incorporate professional development for continuous improvement of school and district administrative leadership practices and school outcomes.”
Board member Jeanette Ward asked for an elaboration of what the professional development will entail.
Suzanne Johnson, deputy superintendent of instruction, said presenters from UIC would provide half- and full-day sessions for the administrative cabinet “as well as leadership development for teacher leaders and building a process for acquiring leadership skills and that development to potentially move into leadership positions.”
Ward asked if she could see the resources or curriculum that would be used during the professional development which Johnson said “as they come forward, absolutely,” but those resources weren’t currently available.
“So I won’t be able to see them before I vote?” Ward asked. Johnson said: “That’s correct.”
Johnson said she could make a request to UIC to provide examples.
Also presented were two proposals for asbestos abatement projects including one at 1019 East Chicago St., costing $87,900 with DEM Services, Inc. and another at Elgin High School costing $124,000 with Holian Asbestos Removal. Both would be paid for by the operations and maintenance fund if approved.
Regarding the Elgin High School project, board member Phil Costello asked why EHC Industries, Inc., which presented a bid of $78,360, was not chosen to which Sheila Downs, director of plant operations, said: “They requested to have their bid withdrawn.”
With Trane U.S. Inc., the district is proposing a $56,367 expenditure (operations and maintenance fund) for replacement of building automation equipment that controls the heating and cooling systems at Elgin’s Ellis Middle School.
The district is asking for a $44,000 expense (operations and maintenance fund) with Trane Rental Services for a two-month rental of a 400-ton chiller to be used at South Elgin’s Kenyon Woods Middle School. The proposal stated the cooling system at the school can’t “sufficiently cool the entire building.”
Jeff King, chief operations officer, said a chiller was also rented for Kenyon Woods last fall.
A proposal costing $188,553 split between Dell EMC ($121,178) for Chromebooks and interactive displays as well as PACE Systems ($67,375) for interactive display stands would be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through Title I funds I approved.
Responding to a question from board member Melissa Owens, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Trisha Shrode said the district’s Title I schools “have additional funds allowable to them each year” and “had purchased technology well in advance of us starting to rollout one-to-one (technology)” district-wide, but that technology is now in a need of replacement.
Also presented to the board at the March 18 meeting was the district’s age and obsolescence plan for replacing buses. Jeffrey Prowell, director of transportation, said bids will start going out in April with proposals presented to the board in May.
The plan would reduce the district’s current bus fleet from 351 to 345 buses with an estimated cost of $3.9 million.
The plan includes the purchase of 21 large buses, 19 diesel and two gasoline, while trading in 27 large buses. The trade-ins come from 2007 to 2009 equipment with mileage ranging from 108,905 to 160,201.
The buses to be purchased would all be new, 2020 model year.
“There are no used buses available with our specifications and 2019 is the first year where large school buses are available with electronic stability control and collision mitigation,” Prowell said.
Regarding the gasoline buses, Prowell said: “These buses would be a test to determine if we purchase gasoline buses over diesel buses in the future.”
Elaborating after a question from board member Sue Kerr, Prowell said two of three school bus manufacturers make gasoline buses and Rockford has a fully gasoline fleet. He said the engine is manufactured in Illinois but is “relatively new” and he’d “like to see how they work in our fleet.”
The plan also calls for the purchase of 22 small buses, all diesel and 2020 model year, with 22 trade-ins. The trade-ins are from 2007 to 2012 with mileage ranging from 76,197 to 185,935.
Prowell is also asking to purchase five multi-function school activity buses “for use on athletic trips.”