Board to consider policies related to consent decree settlement agreement

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board is scheduled to vote on several new policies related to its consent decree settlement agreement when it meets Monday night.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St.

Catlin school board adopts 2009-10 spending plan

CATLIN – School officials on Thursday night approved a $5.03 million spending plan for the 2009-10 fiscal year that includes about $335,000 in deficit spending.

Superintendent Gary Lewis has said he underestimated expected revenues and overestimated expected expenditures when making the 2009-10 budget, so the projected deficit is "hopefully a worst-case scenario."

UI alumni in Chicago write in praise of Herman

CHICAGO – Urbana campus alumni in the Chicago area have written the governor and board of trustees a letter praising University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman.

The letter is effusive in its praise of Herman, who has faced negative banners on campus and will face a faculty vote of confidence in the wake of revelations that high-powered individuals influenced admissions to the state's top university.

Officials end 'soft lockdown' at Rantoul Township

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township High School is returning closer to normal operations this morning following a second day of holding classes under a "soft lockdown."

Superintendent Janet Koroscik said she was suspending the "soft lockdown," in which students are not allowed to leave their classrooms during class periods unless accompanied by a teacher or administrator.

Admissions-reform resolution on UI trustees' agenda

URBANA – A resolution to be considered by University of Illinois trustees today directs administrators to eliminate the Category I system, special-interest admissions and any process that gives preferential treatment to applicants.

It also says the UI should establish written criteria for admissions that are readily accessible to prospective applicants, create a process for "properly handling inquiries about admissions," and create a code of conduct for admissions to build a "firewall" insulating admissions officers from "unwarranted interference in the admissions process."

District 118 officials fill human resources opening

DANVILLE – Danville school officials will shuffle some staff to handle the unexpected resignation of an administrator.

Commenters seek a consent-decree guarantee

CHAMPAIGN – Community members who have commented on the Champaign school district's settlement agreement to end its consent decree case want a guarantee the black community will continue to have a role in monitoring equity issues in the district, and they want to know what will happen if the district doesn't comply with the agreement.

Twenty people or organizations submitted comments on the settlement agreement to the federal district court. The Champaign school district and the plaintiffs, representing the district's black students, reached a settlement in July on three outstanding issues in the consent decree case. District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade asked for anyone interested in the settlement to submit a summary of comments by Sept. 1.

Previous UI administrators dispute claims of clout

URBANA – A group of former University of Illinois administrators says admissions irregularities weren't always the norm at the Urbana campus, contrary to suggestions by those involved in the recent clout scandal.

In a letter to The News-Gazette, published today, eight employees who worked closely with former provosts and chancellors at the Urbana campus say their bosses did not admit applicants because of outside pressure.

Tried and True: Catherine Field's chicken 'n' dumplings

"This is one is perfect for chilly weather – and lovely to come home to after a long day at the office. It's a rather filling dish, so invite a few friends to share this meal with to keep your portions in check."

UI faculty/student senate to meet Monday for vote

URBANA – The University of Illinois faculty and student senate is set to meet again Monday to vote on a resolution that calls for a change in top leadership at the university.

The resolution was initially introduced to the campus-governing body last week, but UI senators delayed voting on the resolution until Monday, Sept. 14, following the board of trustees meeting scheduled to take place this Thursday at the Illini Union. In recent days, the senate's executive committee has revised the document the senate will discuss and, if passed, send to the board of trustees.