Exams set up special-needs children for failure

URBANA – Anthony Tuel seems like a regular kid: dirty blond hair, glasses, a "Hannah Montana" and "Mythbusters" fan who makes an eww! face at the thought of certain vegetables.

He speaks politely, tries to pay attention and works on homework with his mom, Kelly Tuel. He's in fourth grade at Thomas Paine Elementary School in Urbana.

Expert: Older structures vulnerable to 'big one'

Earthquake engineering expert Jim Wilcoski doesn't worry about quake insurance on his house.

Although he might see some of its brick veneer flake off in a really big Midwest tremor, he figures, structural damage is unlikely.

Proposed sales tax would cool Rantoul elementary school

RANTOUL – Elementary school students in Rantoul would be able to learn in air-conditioned comfort if voters approve a proposed sales tax this November.

The Rantoul City Schools board voted 5-1 Thursday to approve an initiative to establish a 1 percent county school facility occupation sales tax in Champaign County.

Quake gives FutureGen fresh study data

MATTOON – Throughout the process to identify sites for the FutureGen clean-coal plants, alliance officials stressed the importance of finding a location that was safe from earthquakes.

When the FutureGen Alliance announced in December it had chosen Mattoon for its near-zero emissions power plant, FutureGen Chief Michael Mudd said the low level of seismic activity made Coles County ideal.

Villa Grove school policies changed after child left on bus

VILLA GROVE – Villa Grove school officials have implemented new policies concerning bus safety and attendance-keeping after a 3-year-old child was left unattended on a bus for more than two hours on Wednesday.

Amy McCullom of Villa Grove says her preschooler was left alone on a bus and locked in the bus barn after arriving at school around 8 a.m. Her daughter, Rosa, attends the Early Childhood Development program at Villa Grove schools.

Parents, students speak on Shiloh co-op, expansion

HOMER – About 100 parents, coaches and student athletes showed up at the Heritage school board meeting earlier this week to talk about the cooperative sports program with Shiloh school district.

Shiloh and Heritage school districts currently have cooperative contracts in football, track and baseball. Board President Kevin Wright said each contract has a two-year term and can be reconsidered at the end of each term.

Event of this size not seen as big risk structurally

A quake in the magnitude 5 range, like the one that shook the area early this morning, is good-sized for this part of the country, but not much of a threat as far as structural damage goes, University of Illinois engineering Professor Doug Foutch said.

Foutch, an emeritus professor of civil and environmental engineering, said the news reports he had seen noted only minor damage, even near the epicenter, and no injuries.

Danville sixth-graders win grant to revitalize courtyard

DANVILLE – North Ridge Middle School won a $10,000 grant to breathe new life into a rundown courtyard.

School officials said winning a competitive grant, especially for that amount, is impressive. It's even more remarkable that the multifaceted application was prepared by 11- and 12-year-olds.

Danville school district makes the honor roll

DANVILLE – Making data-driven spending decisions + living within your means = a financially sound school district.

By doing that the last few years, the Danville school district was able to increase its financial profile and move off the Illinois State Board of Education's financial early warning list – and onto the honor roll.

Plan to restructure Danville High School approved

DANVILLE – School board members on Wednesday unanimously approved a restructuring plan aimed at improving teaching and learning at Danville High School.

They also threw their support behind another plan for improving alternative education programs for high schoolers and middle schoolers, which ties in with the restructuring plan.