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U-46 Board approves three expense proposals

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved of $7.5 million over three expenditure proposals under the consent agenda by a 6-0 vote, board member Donna Smith was absent, at its meeting on Monday, March 16.
  All board members in attendance called in by phone as the state continues to be shut down over the coronavirus.
  U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders said at the meeting he expected all approved projects to not be interrupted by the shutdown as school was originally expected to come back into session on Tuesday, March 31. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has since ordered schools to remain closed until Wednesday, April 8 which may force some changes in project dates.
  The largest item was a $7.1 million bid from Happ Builders, Inc., to be paid from the operations and maintenance fund, for a renovation project at Elgin’s Larkin High School. The proposal stated construction was scheduled to start April 7 with completion by Aug. 3.
  The project is part of renovations to take place at all five district high schools for transition to career and educational pathways, and Larkin will be the first to be renovated.
  “Although Larkin will house various Pathways, the Culinary Arts, Early Childcare, and Healthcare Sciences will require extensive renovations in order to provide spaces that fully support the curriculum,” the proposal states. “During this time, we will also update the science classrooms, lab spaces, and prep rooms to bring those spaces up to current standards.”
  The district will spend $222,400, paid by the nation’s taxpayers through Title II funds, with Harvard Graduate School of Education to be a part of its instructional rounds learning walk network.
  “The Learning Walk process provides formative assessment data that supports the implementation of standards-based teaching and learning,” the proposal stated. “Examining and analyzing this data is a key practice of continuous school improvement. The Learning Walk Committee has selected Instructional Rounds as the framework for learning visits in the district.”
  A $145,294 bid from was approved from WESCO/CSC (education fund), for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which “will provide a UPS in 77 Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) closets. This upgrade will prevent students, teachers, and staff from losing connection to the internet, internal network, and telecommunication system,” the proposal states.
  U-46 plans to use e-rate funding, a federal program that would make the nation’s taxpayers fund 80 percent of the project. The work was expected to start on April 1.
  Two bids were lower including N1 Critical Technologies ($107,723) and MVation Worldwide ($143,655). The proposal stated N1 “did not meet physical and mechanical minimum specs,” and MVation “did not include the required licensing costs, and the vendor did not respond to requests for proposal clarification.”
  Also approved 6-0 were $8 million in itemized bills, a personnel report and workers’ compensation cases and two staff dismissals including a tenured teacher, Robert Brault, for cause as well as the termination of a noon hour supervisor.
  The personnel report included one workers’ compensation case totaling $50,000 for a teacher at Elgin’s Ellis Middle School.




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