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U-46 approves expenses for virtual graduations


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved the expenditures related to the virtual graduation at its meeting on Monday, June 15 which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
  The vote came two days after the virtual graduation took place on June 13. The cost was $26,641, (education fund) with Herff Jones.
  “We had to expend the money and bring it back to the board to ratify the expense,” said Superintendent Tony Sanders.
  The original graduation was scheduled for May 23 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates which was rescheduled for July 11 due to the shutdown, but the district later opted for the virtual graduation. What should be noted is some other districts in the state have held in-person graduations already through various means while practicing “social distancing.”
  “School District U-46 contracted with Herff Jones to produce a virtual graduation for all five high school sites,” the proposal states. “Herff Jones is partnering with the companies Marching Order and Stage Clip to develop the virtual graduation, which will be livestreamed on the internet at 3:00 p.m. on June 13, 2020. The virtual graduation videos will then be owned by U-46 and will be posted on our YouTube site indefinitely.”
  The cost was based per student and had a $5,000 minimum per school. Broken down the cost was $5,760 at South Elgin High School (640 graduates), $5,616 at Elgin High School (624 graduates), $5,265 at Bartlett High School (585 graduates) and $5,000 each at Streamwood High School (440 graduates) and Elgin’s Larkin High School (375 graduates).
  South Elgin’s graduation video was delayed which Herff Jones took responsibility for. Board member Eva Porter asked before the meeting if the district will receive a discount for the mistake.
  The district responded in a memo: “The Secondary Education and Business Services offices are working through our protocol when vendors do not meet expectations. The form is called a non-conforming products or services form. We have completed the form and submitted it this morning. The vendor now has 48 hours to respond. We are seeking their response and how they will rectify the situation. We have not yet paid any invoices and are seeking a reduction in costs based on the unacceptable quality of the live streamed graduation, specifically in regards to South Elgin High School.”
  Regarding the graduations, board member John Devereux said: “I watched each one of them. The speakers were all remarkable.”

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