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U-46 Board approves hearing officer, mobiles


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved the appointment of a hearing officer and a resolution declaring the need to continue using temporary classrooms at its meeting on Monday, July 15.
  The votes were 4-0 as board members John Devereux, Veronica Noland and Donna Smith were absent.
  Regarding the hearing officer, the board’s policy under Section 5.212 (suspension and dismissal of licensed staff members) states that a suspended employee, without pay, “shall have the right to appeal the suspension to the Board of Education. If an appeal is requested, the Board of Education or an appointed hearing officer shall conduct a hearing at which the employee may be represented by counsel and may present evidence on his/her behalf.”
  Section 7, regarding students, also uses similar language of use of hearing officers when students appeal a suspension or expulsion.
  Luis Rodriguez, the district’s assistant attorney, is a hearing officer for U-46 while this board appointment was for an outside attorney, James Cecil, for “hearings involving employee discipline, dismissal matters, teacher suspensions, tuition fraud matters, student discipline matters and other matters including investigations at the request and direction of the Chief Legal Officer (Miguel Rodriguez),” according to U-46 CEO Tony Sanders.
  “This is not the same thing as Luis Rodriguez,” Sanders said. “He remains as our hearing officer on a regular basis, but there are times that we have required a hearing officer contractually in the past.”
  Regarding the temporary classroom resolution, U-46 plans on using eight double mobile units and five single mobile units housing 21 total classrooms, and they are expected to be used at nine schools.
  The resolution states the district “has experienced changes in student enrollments and educational program requirements that have resulted in a need for additional classroom space in certain schools” and “all options to address availability of space in permanent buildings have been considered in light of these enrollment changes and the programmatic needs of students.”
  The district plans on using two double units at both South Elgin High School and Elgin’s Century Oaks Elementary School, and a single and double unit at both Elgin’s Hillcrest and Lowrie elementary schools. One double unit is planned to be used at both Streamwood’s Hanover Countryside and Hoffman Estate’s Lincoln elementary schools and a single unit is planned at Elgin’s Creekside, Harriet Gifford and Washington elementary schools.

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