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CHAMPAIGN – If voters approve a tax increase on the March 21 ballot to build three new elementary schools, district officials are ready to take fast action.
"We'll hit the ground running," Chief Financial Officer Gene Logas said. "We'll let bid packages for the northwest and Savoy schools within a couple of weeks. We'll get moving on them as soon as possible, and I hope we're building by late summer so they can be enclosed by winter."
CHAMPAIGN – School board members' action-packed Monday night agenda includes a change in officers and approval of a site to be purchased for a new elementary school.
At the 7 p.m. meeting at district headquarters, 703 South New St., board President Scott Anderson is expected to hand over the gavel to one of two contenders for the president's job, Margie Skirvin or Dave Tomlinson. Members will vote on Anderson's successor at the meeting.
CHAMPAIGN – Esther Muhr and the 137 students in her Bottenfield School enrichment classes trek daily, rain or shine, across two parking lots to their classroom in Faith United Methodist Church.
Muhr said everyone's adjusted well to that displacement.
SAVOY – The last elementary school in Savoy closed three decades ago, a victim of declining enrollment in the Champaign school district.
Now, with development booming, the district has proposed a new school in Champaign County's fastest-growing community.
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district plans to announce the intended site for a new elementary school in north Champaign at Monday night's board meeting.
Meanwhile, it's shopping for property for a new high school near Mattis Avenue and Olympian Drive, not far from the High School of St. Thomas More, according to Superintendent Arthur Culver.
CHAMPAIGN– Eric McKeithan sells himself as a veteran college administrator "at the height of my game" and ready to take over running Parkland College.
McKeithan, 59, has been president of Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C., for the last dozen years. He says that's long enough, and he's ready for another challenge.
CHAMPAIGN – Growing up in a family that didn't respect higher education, Robert Exley worked for years before he went back to college, and he believes a community college made all the difference.
Exley, 51, is one of five finalists to replace Zelema Harris as president of Parkland College. On Thursday, he talked with Parkland staffers about how teachers gave him their full attention, and pushed him to excel, at San Jacinto College in Houston.
URBANA – School officials say area students who were psyched up to take Illinois Standards Achievement Tests this week did their best to measure up to standards.
But they say the test publishers flat-out flunked, a fiasco so extensive state Superintendent Randy Dunn said Thursday he's close to recommending Harcourt Assessment's new contract be canceled. He also said he'd hold the company responsible for extra expenses districts like Urbana incurred last weekend when officials frantically copied test-taking materials that failed to arrive on time.
CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College presidential candidate Betty Young is an expert on nontraditional students.
She was one herself, entering college at 28 and going on to earn a doctorate and a law degree.