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CHAMPAIGN – Parents and students say they won't let administrators downgrade foreign language programs without a protest.
More than 120 parents and youths jammed the school board meeting room Monday to express concern about the discontinuation of German studies at the middle schools and other changes they said penalize students who want to learn languages early.
With the price of diesel fuel at more than $3 a gallon, many rural school districts might have to consider cutting back on field trips or other extracurricular activities to save fuel.
Keven Forney, superintendent of the Oakwood school district, said more than 800 of the 1,100 kids in the district are bused, and between May and Sept. 1, diesel fuel prices increased 45 percent. He hasn't checked for the last two or three weeks but knows it's even higher.
CHAMPAIGN – Sue Davis will focus her students' attention on farming to teach them lessons about mathematics, social studies and economics.
Hands-on lessons help Davis introduce concepts of geometry to second-graders. And she said thinking about farming also helps her young students understand their community.
CHAMPAIGN – Mija Wells matter-of-factly pulls out pictures her mother took of their home in New Orleans – pictures of watermarks on walls, her trashed bedroom, the family's moldy furniture and overturned appliances.
"I miss my home," said Mija, 16, who evacuated her uptown neighborhood with her family before Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, breaking levees in New Orleans and inundating 80 percent of the city.
CHAMPAIGN – Lisa Baer is proud of her "interesting" ancestry. A Tolono resident and University of Illinois junior, she's half Korean and also has Jewish ancestors who came to this country from Lithuania.
That heritage is helping Baer pay her UI bills. She started attending Parkland College in 2003, graduated last spring and plans to return to teach at the Champaign community college after she earns her master's degree. That return will fulfill a promise she made when she received a Parkland PROF scholarship, designed to diversify the college's future faculty.
CHAMPAIGN – Contract talks with Champaign teachers stalled Wednesday, and the two sides have called for a mediator.
Greg Novak, president of the Champaign Federation of Teachers, said a 4 p.m. meeting Oct. 12 with union members is "definitely on." No more negotiating sessions are scheduled because of the mediation process, and teachers are expected to take a 10-day intent-to-strike vote at that meeting at Centennial High School.
With gas prices what they are, International Walk to School Day couldn't come at a better time.
Even more importantly, organizers say, parents should know about the safety aspect of their children's routes, and the health benefits of mild aerobic exercise.
CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College board members have picked a North Carolina firm to help them find a new president for the college.
At a special meeting Thursday, the board selected Hockaday-Hunter and Associates of Broadway, N.C., to assist with a national search to replace President Zelema Harris, who will retire July 1, 2006.
CHAMPAIGN – Superintendent Arthur Culver urged members of a new facilities study committee to regard the task ahead as "an awesome opportunity."
"You have lots of responsibility," he told the group of about 40, including parents, educators and community members. The committee met Wednesday to start reviewing all Champaign schools to determine what work needs to be done and eventually to recommend whether the district should seek a bond issue that would require voter approval next spring.
URBANA – Finally, the check was in the mail.
Early this year, school officials wrote off missing state funding for King School renovations after Springfield promises for the money went unfulfilled.