Today, we update you on people and places from the recent past and decades ago. Here, former Champaign schools Superintendent Arthur Culver.
When Culver took over as superintendent in 2002, Champaign schools were operating under a federal consent decree on various racial equity issues negotiated before his arrival. Culver was given the mandate to close the achievement gap between black and white students and shepherd the district through a federal consent decree aimed at eliminating inequities in the education of black and white students (it was settled in 2009).
While here, he was a lightning rod for controversy: bringing in educators from Texas to assist him; reassigning principals; even alleged efforts to influence coaching decisions.
As part of a $75,000 settlement with the school board in connection with Culver's departure in 2011, he and the board agreed "not to make derogatory or disparaging comments, or negative references, with respect to the other party."
Now 59, Culver serves as the superintendent for the East St. Louis school district. And once again he finds himself dealing with a consent decree.
In 2011 the state Board of Education appointed Culver during the state's oversight of the district after reported academic and financial problems there.
When the state school board voted to remove East St. Louis' elected school board, five of the seven school board members filed suit to block the move. That suit was settled in May 2013 with the establishment of a consent decree, to be in place for a minimum of four years. The decree allows school board members to have input on curriculum, hiring, budgetary and other matters, but final decisions will be up to Culver.
What they're saying ...
Sue Grey, former Unit 4 school board president, says: "Most folks would equate Arthur Culver with the federal consent decree. He came to Unit 4 with that in place and had a lot to overcome. He did what he thought was best and tried hard to meet the requirements of the decree. ... He did what was needed to come to a settlement, and that was achieved."