St. Thomas More designated a Blue Ribbon school; first in area since 2005

CHAMPAIGN — For the first time in nearly a decade, Champaign-Urbana is home to a Blue Ribbon school.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan named St. Thomas More a 2014 Blue Ribbon recipient, a recognition his department calls a widely acknowledged symbol of "exemplary teaching and learning."

Petitions available for Mahomet-Seymour school board seats

MAHOMET — Nominating petition forms for the April 2, 2015, school board election in the Mahomet-Seymour school district are now available.

PBL to take part in Parkland program

PAXTON — Starting next school year, Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School students who qualify will have a chance to complete coursework at Parkland College that can be used for industry certification or college credit.

Quite an experience

URBANA — Kaitlyn Fouke experienced an intense culture shock this summer.

It wasn't when the Urbana High School senior arrived in the African village of Otse, Botswana, for her three-week stay with a host family.

It wasn't when she saw a lion devour a water buffalo while on a safari ride.

What's cool in school: Technology in the gym at Urbana High School

URBANA — When Urbana High School sophomore Javon Jackson first heard about the new toy his teacher was about to make a part of gym class, he couldn't believe his ears.

Trades unions excited for possible boost

CHAMPAIGN — Building trade unions see the plans to revamp Champaign's two high schools as a chance to reinvigorate career and technical education in the county's largest school district and bolster their own training efforts.

Champaign school tax increase a tough sell

CHAMPAIGN — With the slide show complete, Champaign school Superintendent Judy Wiegand turned to her audience for questions about the upcoming high school referendum.

Sales professional Jon Rector raised his hand. He was convinced of the need to modernize Central and Centennial high schools but wanted to know one thing:

Plans for new high schools hinge on voters

If they get the A-OK from voters on Nov. 4, two area school districts will proceed with plans to rebuild high schools. How the proposed buildings compare:

Built in...

CENTRAL: 1938, when the Cubs played in the World Series

Trading spaces?

CHAMPAIGN — The $30 million new school they've been hoping for is still likely at least a decade away, but Dr. Howard Elementary may soon get a temporary home with far better amenities than it has now.

GCMS budget shows deficit

GIBSON CITY — Like many area school districts, the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley district is projecting a deficit budget this fiscal year.