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Dist. U-46 Board ratifies series of proposals


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46, without discussion, approved of a series of resolutions as well as a list of authorized depositories and a consolidated plan by unanimous vote at its meeting on Monday, June 17.
  Approved were four resolutions while a fifth resolution, that being to establish prevailing wage rates, was expected to receive a vote but was not on the agenda. The prevailing wage resolution, along with the others, were presented on June 3 but no explanation was given as to why a vote did not take place.
  The likely explanation for not voting on the prevailing wage resolution is that Public Act 100-1177, passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, went into effect on July 1 removing the requirement for public bodies to file a resolution with the state setting and listing prevailing wage rates.
  In contrast to Illinois’ step towards entrenching prevailing wage laws by removing this layer of transparency, a trend has taken place in other states as five have repealed their prevailing wage laws since 2015 with Michigan the most recent. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 24 states now do not have prevailing wage laws.
  The prevailing wage acts as a minimum wage for outside contractors used by the district. The rates are set by the Illinois Department of Labor rather than market forces.
  “This action is required by state law,” U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said on June 3. “The wage rates… and any future revisions by the Illinois Department of Labor to the wage determinations supersede the department’s current determination.”
  School districts can do their own survey of area vendors, which some members of previous U-46 boards have advocated for, however, the district and have not supported that action.
  A Government Accountability Office report has found that prevailing wage laws lead to “a lack of transparency in the survey process” and benefit entrenched contractors and unions to force out competition. A 2015 Operational Employment Statistics report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that within U-46, the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin/Cook region, the union-driven prevailing wage rates increase taxpayer costs by 39.7 percent.
  A resolution requesting approval of hazardous transportation area designations was approved. Sanders said the list, which includes 25 U-46 locations, “confirms that the hazardous transportation area designations previously approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation still exist, and that students that resided within the designated areas during the 2018-19 school year were provided free transportation services.”
  There were several areas designated as hazardous within The Examiner coverage area.
  Included in Bartlett were the crossing at Railroad Avenue and South Oak Avenue affecting Eastview Middle School and Bartlett High School, the crossing Stearns Road and Trillium Lane for Centennial Elementary School and walking along Schick Road and Fairfax Lane to Mayflower Drive for Prairieview Elementary School.
  In South Elgin were the crossing at East State Street at Center Street and walking along Raymond Street from Hartman Court to Spruce Street for Clinton Elementary School, crossing Sundown Road at Martin Drive for Willard Elementary School and walking along McLean Boulevard from Sandhurst Lane north to Jenna Drive for Fox Meadow Elementary School.
  In Streamwood were walking along Marion Lane and crossing North Oltendorf Road as well as crossing Old Church Road at Debbie Lane for Glenbrook Elementary School, walking along Jensen Boulevard at Irving Park Road for Sunnydale Elementary School and crossing Schaumburg Road at Park Boulevard for Canton Middle School.
  In Carol Stream was walking along Fair Oaks Road from Lies Road north to Big Horn Trail for Spring Trail Elementary School.
  A resolution to authorize the transfer of interest earnings from the working cash fund to the operations and maintenance fund was approved. The resolution stated the board “has determined that the Operations & Maintenance Fund is the fund most in need of such interest transfer,” and it “authorizes the School Treasurer to transfer ($6 million) from the Working Cash Fund to the Operations & Maintenance Fund of the School District which monies represent earnings from the Working Cash Fund.”
  Resolutions authorizing participation in federal and state programs and authorizing the treasurer to make bond and interest payments were approved.
  The board approved of the list of authorized depositories which are the companies that handle U-46’s investment portfolio. Dale Burnidge, director of financial services, said the district is using the “same companies that we’ve used in the past” which include English Concepts d/b/a/ PMA Securities, Inc., the Illinois School District Liquid Asset Fund and JP Morgan Chase and Co.
  A consolidated plan, which was approved, was needed under a new state law according to Sanders in order to combine “all of the grant programs that the state runs, federal government runs. We have to submit now a consolidated plan where the state can see these things and how they intersect.”
  “The goal as stated by (Illinois State Board of Education) is that work be done in the coming school year, to better plan for a fully consolidated grant application in fiscal year 2021…. Approval of this consolidated plan will allow the district access to our federal grant applications. Work will continue in the 2019-2020 school year to prepare for a fully consolidated grant application in fiscal year 2021,” the proposal stated.

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