URBANA – Members of the Urbana school board are looking for money to make repairs and improvements to the schools, but they don't want the many millions that require voter approval.
So they're talking about raising taxes slightly – and possibly temporarily – to sell a working cash bond after a bidding process.
RANTOUL – When Merle Wilson took his first look at a house on Congress Avenue owned by Rantoul Township High School, he was distressed at what he found.
Ceilings criss-crossed with lathing to hold them up. Holes in the foundation. Planks missing in the wooden flooring.
DANVILLE – For three years, 14-year-old Logan Taylor of Tilton has been looking forward to donning a graduation gown, walking down an aisle to "Pomp and Circumstance," and receiving a certificate.
But Logan and other eighth-graders at South View and North Ridge middle schools may have to wait four more years to do that. Danville school officials are recommending eliminating middle school graduation exercises starting this year.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign voters could have more than a dozen choices to fill five open seats on the Champaign school board.
So far, 13 possible candidates have picked up nominating petitions.
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school officials have more time to tell a federal judge how they will improve the education of the district's black students.
The district and representatives of its black families have been granted a five-and-one-half week extension to file a revised plan outlining how the district will meet the goals of its federal consent decree. The consent decree aims to eliminate disparities between black and white students in achievement, discipline, assignment to special education and inclusion in gifted classes, among other things.
HOOPESTON – Hoopeston Area schools officials are preparing to launch a search for a permanent replacement for Superintendent Mark Conolly, who died in December.
"We're just now starting to talk about the process," interim Superintendent Don Dean said.
SPRINGFIELD – Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, used his inaugural address to loudly proclaim education funding reform as his top priority, despite the governor's opposition to the tax hikes such proposals rely upon.
Jones thanked Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich for putting more money toward schools over the last four years, but said that it did not go far enough.
CHAMPAIGN – Nancy Holm's three daughters have each studied a different language at Centennial High School – German, French and Spanish.
Holm would like to see the Champaign school district expand its foreign language program by offering classes to elementary students.
CHAMPAIGN – The organizer of a charter school proposal said she will appeal the denial of the charter by the Champaign school board.
Andrea Carter also said she plans to go forward with her plans for an elementary school for boys who are struggling in the Champaign school district, and she will look at other options for funding the school – private donations and federal grant money.
GEORGETOWN –The contract with district teachers is still in effect for another six months, but Georgetown Superintendent Kevin Tate said Monday the school board is preparing for negotiations.
Tate said the board's negotiating team is making some preliminary preparations and may have their first meeting with members of the Georgetown-Ridge Farm Education Association next month.