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Group involved with equity issues tours Judah building

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign school board member who toured the Judah Christian School building Wednesday said it has potential for use by the district, but he would not be interested in buying it unless black parents and community members support it.

Nathaniel Banks said the school board and the district need their input in deciding how to proceed.


Deputy school chief to take over Urbana's top job in July 2007

URBANA – Preston Williams Jr. will replace Gene Amberg as the Urbana schools superintendent as of July 2007.

At its regular school board meeting Tuesday night, the school board unanimously voted to approve Williams, now deputy superintendent, for the position, less than two weeks after Amberg announced his retirement in a year.


Urbana students spend summer preparing for next level

URBANA – For students in Urbana's Sankofa Connections program, "no more teachers, no more books" is no more the mantra of summer vacation.

These kids are working hard, learning math, reading, writing and social skills – and, for the most part, they wouldn't trade the experience, even for more traditional summer fun.


Parents put federal act to the test

CHAMPAIGN – A handful of concerned parents is forming a task force to look more closely at No Child Left Behind and how the federal act is affecting the Champaign school district.

Some of those parents say they are worried that hands-on, project-based learning is being sacrificed to prepare students for testing that will determine if they are learning the basic concepts mandated by state standards, and if schools and the district are making sufficient progress according to No Child Left Behind.


Union wants action taken on Tuscola principal

TUSCOLA – The Tuscola Education Association, which represents teachers in the Tuscola school district, filed a complaint on May 12 with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board alleging that the district has been taking part in unfair labor practices.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by The News-Gazette, school district representatives, including Tuscola High School Principal Kyle Ransom, allegedly have been interfering with, restraining and coercing union representatives since April 25, in violation of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.


Champaign school district takes look at Judah Christian

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school district officials are looking into buying the Judah Christian School building.

Superintendent Arthur Culver toured the building at 908 N. Prospect Ave. Thursday, along with more than a half dozen other administrators, an engineer, and Mark Ritz of BLDD Architects, which worked with the district on its unsuccessful building bond proposal.


Decision on Urbana school superintendent may come on Tuesday

URBANA – By Tuesday night, Preston Williams may be chosen as the next superintendent of Urbana public schools.

The school board will discuss and possibly vote on the position at its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Burkholder Administrative Service Center at 205 N. Race St., U.


Governor quells state school aid rumors

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today put an end to rumors and worries in school circles about state aid payment plans, announcing that he plans to advance two payments.

"Advancing the final two payments is critical for school districts as they try to keep their budgets balanced," said a statement from the governor's office, adding that previous governors "delayed the payments until the following fiscal years, and this is problematic for districts."


Consultant explains building bond proposal

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school board member Arlene Blank said she – and the community members she's talked with – don't want to pay a consultant to help the district put together a new building bond proposal.

"There's still a lot of distrust of the board and administration in this community, and I don't think spending bucks for a consultant," is going to help rebuild trust, Blank said, adding the school district has budget issues. "I'm not interested in spending money on consultants that could be spent on putting teachers and aides in front of kids."


Support staff to receive raises next year

RANTOUL – Board members Monday voted to give Rantoul Township High School support staff members 4 percent pay raises for the 2006-07 school year.

But they tabled action on administrators' salaries, adjourning their regular meeting until 6:15 p.m. June 26 when they will take up that issue again.