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Expense proposals slated for DistrictU-46 vote

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 is set to vote on three expenditure items totaling $148,813 at its upcoming meeting on Monday, Dec. 16. The items were presented on Nov. 18.
  Included is a contract with Group Travel Planners costing $31,063 to send 48 Larkin High School students and five adults on a spring break college trip in March. The bulk of the cost will be paid for, if approved, by the nation’s taxpayers through Title I funds while the proposal states the individuals “will pay a portion of the meals” which totals $5,300.
  “Students will visit multiple colleges and universities in the states of Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and will gain information related to the college admissions process, program offerings, and post-secondary preparation,” the proposal states.
  Sue Kerr, the board’s president, asked how students are selected which Jamie Crosen, Larkin’s principal, said it’s “random” with students submitting an application with an essay.
  “A lot of the results are based on where the kids are planning on going,” Crosen said. “It’s primarily juniors. We also try and stick in a few sophomores and freshmen just to give them that early exposure as well. So, it’s kind of just chosen based on their essay and kind of what their goals are.”
  Board member John Devereux asked how the schools being visited were selected stating: “I’m interested why there aren’t any Illinois schools on the list.”
  “So, what we try to do is during the school year we try to really focus a lot on Illinois schools,” Crosen said. “So, the goal, it’s not necessarily for our kids to go to those schools, it’s really to open up just college opportunities for our kids.”
  Crosen added: “Really, the honest belief is that kids get on campuses and fall in love with college, and that’s the motivating factors.”
  Board member Eva Porter asked how the trip is publicized to students and Crosen said students are told the planned schools to be visited starting in October. He said the school also determines the financial status of prospective students stating “some kids, costs sometimes is a barrier,” and the school tries to find ways to alleviate the costs for some students.
  Porter asked if five chaperones were enough to which Crosen said district policy is one adult for every 10 students.
  The largest item to be voted on is a two-year contract with International Baccalaureate (IB) costing $73,750 from the education fund. It is to provide administration and staff at Elgin High School professional development as the school’s gifted academy is proposing a redesign.
  According to the proposal, data from Elgin’s academy “shows that the admission process does not reflect a culturally competent educational environment.”
  IB’s mission statement reads: “The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
  Also, to receive a vote will be a bid with Enger Vavra, Inc. costing $44,000, from the operations and maintenance fund, to demolish a cooler and freezer at Bartlett’s Eastview Middle School.
  Prior to 2018, Eastview had acted as the district’s food commissary before it was moved to an Elgin location.
  “The old commissary has since been converted to an additional location for Business Services and acts as an auxiliary location for district storage,” the proposal states. “Because there are no future plans to use the built-in cooler and freezer, Business Services asked to remove these units to allow for more storage.”
  Kerr asked if the equipment will be resold which Sheila Downs, director of plant operations, said it will be demoed while the company may scrap the metal.




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