Updated: Former board members rejoin Champaign school board

Updated: Former board members rejoin Champaign school board

Updated 9:35 p.m. Monday.

CHAMPAIGN — Two Champaign school board members were sworn in at Monday night's meeting, but they're not new to the job.

The Champaign school board selected Arlene Blank and Phil Van Ness on Jan. 14 to fill two short-term seats on the school board that are open until after the April election. The school board interviewed four applicants for the seats. Thirteen people applied to be appointed.

"We're very excited to have you both here," board President Stig Lanesskog told Blank and Van Ness.

Blank and Van Ness fill seats left open upon the resignations of Tommy Lockman and Sue Grey in December.

Grey stepped down after becoming the new president and CEO of the United Way of Champaign County.

Lockman resigned because he was considering applying for the school district's school attorney position.

The school board earlier this month approved hiring him as such. Lockman was in attendance at the school board's meeting Monday, sitting with other school district administrators.

Van Ness served on the school board from 1999 to 2003, and Blank served from 2005 until 2009.

Blank is a retired Champaign schools administrator. She also worked as an interim administrator for the district last year, working in human resources on a limited basis.

Also Monday, the school board voted unanimously to seek bids on a renovation to Robeson Elementary School. The renovation is scheduled to happen both this summer and next.

The board also unanimously voted to move forward with the renovation of Bottenfield Elementary.

The school district is expected to let bids for the project this spring, and renovations will begin this summer. Bottenfield students and teachers will spend next year at the elementary school on Kirby Avenue, which is the former Carrie Busey Elementary.


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