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Code changes, expenses slated for U-46 votes


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 is set to vote on changes to the Student Code of Conduct along with several other resolutions and $7.4 million in expenditure items at its upcoming meeting on Monday, May 13. The items were presented on May 6.
  Part of the changes to the code of conduct includes language changes identifying when and where the code applies to students, and government officials will be able to punish students for activity done at home.
  “This applies to social media comments,” said John Heiderscheidt, director of safety and culture. There is no clarity provided in the code identifying what kind of “social media comments” would be deemed worthy of consequences.
  Another change in the document is moving towards aligning definition with the federal government which includes sexual assault in this change.
  “We’re going to be moving towards that in the next years, is making our definitions of behavior offenses consistent with what the federal government is saying in their definitions so we’re all singing from the right hymn book,” Heiderscheidt said.
  Board member Kate Thommes asked how the district ensures consistent implementation across U-46 schools to which the administration said there is on-going professional development for school administrators.
  Thommes also suggested the district discuss the definition of consent and to also address victims in the code who may be forced to face their perpetrators during school.
  “I would challenge you to have some conversations about that and come up with some sort of uniform statement about ‘this is what consent is,’” Thommes said.
  U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said there wouldn’t be enough time to address those this year but the district can look into it in the future. Parents of Bartlett Elementary School students last year addressed the board including one father who said his daughter had her life threatened at school leading to her having to be taken out of class while the perpetrator remained.
  Another item to be voted on is renewing an intergovernmental agreement with the Elgin Police Department allowing them access to live video feeds from U-46 schools. A change would also allow the police access to archived videos.
  In a memo from Heiderscheidt, he said this agreement was useful in allowing the police department to monitor political protesters when the district allowed last year an anti-Second Amendment “student walk-out” in what appeared as a clear violation of the Student Code of Conduct which bans “Demonstration and Mass Protest.”
  The board will also be asked to vote on an affinity card program in which the Kane County Teacher’s Credit Union plans to offer debit and credit cards as well as a resolution allowing the district to intervene in commercial property tax appeals.
  Two curriculum proposals were presented including a K-6 literacy proposal to “integrate literacy, content area and social emotional standards,” according to the proposal as well as a Honors Spanish Language Arts II course proposal.
  The literacy proposal projects a cost of $331,177 for Second Step resources and $2.6 million from additional resources (Houghton Mifflin’s “Kids Discover,” Pearson’s “myWorld Interactive,” McGraw Hill’s “Discovering Our Past”).
  Trisha Shrode, director of curriculum and instruction, said that U-46 staff found nothing inappropriate with the resources but “we do note that there are processes within the district that if a parent finds a lesson or a topic not in keeping with their beliefs, they could ask for an alternate opportunity for learning for their students.”
  The Spanish course is expected to cost $103,086 for resources.
  The largest expenditure item proposed is $4.1 million with Midwest Transit Equipment, Inc., to come out of the transportation fund if approved, to purchase 48 buses.
  Two items from the food and nutrition fund were proposed including $1.2 million with Prairie Farms, Rockford for milk and $1 million with Alpha Baking Company, Inc. for fresh bread.
  Three operations and maintenance fund proposals include $212,000 with Kandu Construction Inc. for replacement of bathroom partitions and three schools, $185,046 with Twin Supplies, Ltd. For lighting upgrades to LED at 11 schools and $91,775 with CertaPro Painters of the North Shore for painting Streamwood High School.
  A $146,426 proposal with CDW-G would come from the education fund if approved for renewal of Microsoft licenses.
  Three items would be paid for by the nation’s taxpayers through grant funds including $144,000 with Northern Illinois University for professional development for the English Language Learner and English as a Second Language staff, $112,500 with Golden Apple for professional learning community professional development and $76,590 with Roosevelt University for the Dual Language Teacher Leadership program.

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