Urbana school staff, administrators to get raises averaging 4%

URBANA – The Urbana school board on Tuesday night approved increasing salaries for non-union support staff and district administrators by an average of 4 percent for the 2009-10 school year.

That is the same increase teachers will get next year, in the third year of their three-year contract.

Danville school board to talk contract in closed session

DANVILLE – Though they considered the idea of extending the Danville teachers' contract for a year, school district officials said that both sides likely will go forward with collective bargaining this month.

Danville school board members will discuss the upcoming negotiations at a special closed-session meeting on Wednesday. They also will hear student discipline cases.

Danville schools now offering free summer meals

DANVILLE – The Danville school district began its summer meals program this week.

About 50 students, who are attending the 21st century middle school summer school program at South View Middle School, showed up and nibbled on cereal, buttered toast, peaches and milk early Monday morning before heading off to class.

End of consent decree will bring only minor changes

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school officials won't know until early August if the federal consent decree they've been operating under for the past 7 1/2 years will end.

Whatever happens, there are some things that won't change in the district, namely the programs and systems that have been put in place as a result of the consent decree.

4th redistricting option on table at final schools forum

CHAMPAIGN – Residents in the Champaign school district will have one more chance to voice their opinions about proposals for high school redistricting.

And they'll have one more option to consider.

D.A.R.E. recognizes deserving educator


ROSSVILLE – Rossville-Alvin Elementary School students thought they had gathered for a last-day-of-school assembly on Friday to hear summer safety tips from Vermilion County sheriff's Deputy David Harrold.

But Harrold surprised them when he announced he actually was there for another reason: to present an award to fifth-grade teacher Debbie Smith.

The only one more surprised was Smith. She covered her face with her hands and slowly shook her head when Harrold announced that she's been named the Illinois D.A.R.E. Officers Association's 2009 Educator of the Year.

First year of after-school program a success

CHAMPAIGN – Wearing some headphones over her ears, Lexus Turner read sheet music from a computer screen as she belted out "My Girl" in a Garden Hills Elementary School classroom Thursday afternoon.

Nine months ago, the 9-year-old third grader didn't know how to read music. Now she feels like she's ready for "American Idol."

"I didn't know going to school could be so much fun," grinned Lexus, one of 25 young people between kindergarten and fifth grade taking part in the after-school Lighted School House program.

Thursday marked the completion of the first year of the program, which provides learning opportunities and fun activities for Champaign children between 3 and 7 p.m. during the week.

Unit 7 board views options for new classrooms

TOLONO – Overcrowding issues were a recurring theme at the Unit 7 school board meeting Wednesday.

Superintendent Michael Shonk presented four designs from Farnsworth Group architect Richard McPhee for adding four classrooms at Unity West Elementary School.

Mahomet to break ground for new library

MAHOMET – The Mahomet Library project will be under way with a groundbreaking ceremony set for 1 p.m. Saturday.

The library staff and board of trustees are inviting all Mahomet residents to bring shovels to the new library site, east of Sandy Ridge Subdivision on U.S. 150.

Danville district gets grant for teacher mentoring

DANVILLE – New teachers in the Danville school district will enter the classroom this fall with a little more support.

That's because they will take part in an induction and mentoring program this summer.