Georgetown hearing draws opponents to school holiday change

GEORGETOWN – After a hearing that drew about a dozen community members, school officials on Monday took no action on a proposal that would have given them the option to have students attend school on Veterans Day.

The hearing was held to get public reaction on a proposal to request that the state board of education allow the district to hold regular school days on the next five Veterans Days.

Alternative academy details will be presented

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district will host an information night to talk about its alternative academy, set to open in the fall.

The information night will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Pavilion Room C at the Champaign Public Library, 505 S. Randolph St.

Unit 4, teachers plan contract talks

CHAMPAIGN – School and teacher union negotiators in Champaign will meet later this month to discuss the contract proposal teachers have made.

Contract negotiations began this week for Champaign teachers, whose three-year contract will expire at the end of June.

Champaign board to vote on putting sales tax on ballot

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board will vote Monday night on putting a 1 percent countywide sales tax on the November ballot.

If it approves the resolution, voters will have their say on the issue in November. State law provides that districts representing 51 percent of the county's school enrollment can place the tax question on the ballot. Eleven other districts in the county have already approved such a measure, and Champaign's approval would push the enrollment percentage over the 51 percent.

Champaign schools panel mulls when school days begin

CHAMPAIGN – When the Champaign school board asked the district to move fall semester exams and the end of the semester to before winter break, members knew that meant school would likely start a little earlier in August.

But many teachers, most of whom work in buildings without air-conditioning, objected to the earlier start date. The calendar would have had them back at work on Aug. 14, and children back in the classroom Aug. 18.

Ethical decisions tied to brain's emotional centers

Maybe it's not surprising that we apparently react more with emotion than logic when deciding what we consider fair.

But a University of Illinois researcher and colleagues have now identified parts of the brain that come into play in such situations in a study designed to look at what goes on in our heads – literally – during moral decision making.

Catlin school building projects receive approval

CATLIN – School officials voted Thursday to sell $500,000 in life-safety bonds to help pay for some large building renovations.

School officials have been considering some improvements to make Catlin Grade School more energy-efficient – replacing the steam boiler and the hot-water boiler that heat the two wings of the school, replacing some drafty windows from 1952 and 1962 and replacing 11 external doors.

Educator takes on revising Danville High School curriculum

DANVILLE – After nearly two years at Northeast Elementary Magnet School's helm, Kathy Houpt has something new on her plate.

Houpt, Northeast's principal since August 2006, recently took over as director of secondary education, a new position created under a $1 million restructuring plan to boost instruction and student achievement at Danville High School.

Support voiced for school sales tax ballot try

URBANA – Champaign County officials say they'll move ahead with plans to put a school sales tax on the ballot in November as soon as they're compelled to under a new state law.

That doesn't mean there aren't lingering questions about the law allowing counties to ask voters for a 1 percent sales tax to help fund school facilities.

Urbana Middle School students stay late after gas leak

URBANA – Students at Urbana Middle School were kept inside the school for several minutes past dismissal time this afternoon, after a construction crew hit a gas line on Michigan Avenue on the south side of the school.

Urbana firefighters asked the students to remain inside the school while they monitored the area and the building for natural gas, said Division Chief Tony Foster. Then students were dismissed through the north entrance to the building.