Area graduates from ISU

Illinois State University has announced the following students graduated in the spring with bachelor's degrees.

Argenta — Rachel Joy Bruckner

Arthur — Kelsey Jordan Birch

Bismarck — Lauren Elizabeth Hous

Bondville — Nicholas Alan Johnson

Buckley — Meghan Marie Foss

Catlin — Joel Benjamin Learnard

Get to know Ryan Cowell, new BTW principal

Eight years after kicking off his Unit 4 career as a high school instructional coach, Ryan Cowell debuts today as an elementary principal.

The new boss at Champaign's Booker T. Washington STEM Academy beat out a field of eight candidates the district interviewed for one of its four principal openings.

PBL reaches 3-year contract with union

PAXTON — The PBL school board has a new three-year collective bargaining agreement in place between the district and its employees.

UI opens railroad-focused laboratory

Coming at 1:30 p.m. today on campus: a ceremony marking the opening of the UI's railroad-focused Research and Innovation Laboratory. A few things you ought to know about RAIL:

Fisher OKs fifth deficit budget; reserves help cover gap

FISHER — The school district is entering its fifth year of running a deficit budget.

Superintendent Barb Thompson told the board this week that the 2016 fiscal year budget will show $480,000 in red ink. The education fund will be $355,000 short; operations and management $45,000 short; transportation $47,000 short.

Tom Kacich: 'Goal might be 100,000 students'

Question about this or another local issue? Ask Tom before the mailbag fills up.

Four C-U teachers to share $2,700 grant

A $2,700 grant from the CU Schools Foundation is making cross-district art collaboration possible for 100 students and four teachers in Champaign and Urbana high schools this year.

New Urbana school board member a student-health advocate

URBANA — The Urbana school board's newest member is a mother of three who is excited to advocate for student health and fiscal responsibility within the district.

By unanimous vote Tuesday evening, the board appointed Anne Hall to fill the seat that's been vacant since five-year member Elaine Gehrmann resigned in July.

EIU cutting 118 jobs just before semester starts

CHARLESTON — Declining enrollment and uncertainty over state funding have led Eastern Illinois University to lay off 67 employees.

Additionally, another 51 positions that had been vacated due to retirements and resignations will not be filled, EIU President David Glassman said Tuesday, less than a week before the start of the fall semester.

Calm before the swarm

N-G education writer NICOLE LAFOND catches us up on what's new around the area with another school year set to start: