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posted: 6/3/2014 5:30 AM

U-46 seeks to change law on filling board vacancies

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Elgin Area School District U-46 officials are seeking a change in state law that would allow school districts additional time to fill school board vacancies.

The school board approved a resolution Monday night that will be proposed to the Illinois Association of School Boards, which represents local school districts' interests in Springfield. It seeks to raise the time to fill a school board vacancy to 60 days, instead of the 45 days allowed by the Illinois School Code.

Officials said the entire process of publicizing a vacancy, soliciting applications, reviewing resumes, allowing candidates enough time to submit materials, and interviewing them is time-consuming.

The extra 15 days would help districts widen their candidate pool and consider more qualified individuals for the school board, said Miguel Rodriguez, U-46 chief legal officer.

"The purpose of this resolution is that it would allow IASB to lobby for a change in the law to increase the time that the board of education has (to) fill a vacancy," he said.

In other business, U-46 Chief Operating Officer Tony Sanders informed the board that the administration has been able to figure out a less expensive way of video/audio recording board meetings and live-streaming them online.

The district earlier had solicited bids from three vendors. Initial cost estimates ranged anywhere from $8,000 up to $200,000 with options ranging from just audio recording to audio/video recording meetings using either one or multiple cameras. The lowest estimate for full audio/video recording meetings was $50,000 and could cost up to $100,000.

Officials are now looking at doing the installation of new video/sound recording equipment in-house, and using existing equipment as well as purchasing new equipment, all for under $25,000.

That would eliminate the need for going out to bid, officials said. "We will have it (in place) by the start of the school year," Sanders said.

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