CHAMPAIGN – Champaign school board member Arlene Blank said she – and the community members she's talked with – don't want to pay a consultant to help the district put together a new building bond proposal.
"There's still a lot of distrust of the board and administration in this community, and I don't think spending bucks for a consultant," is going to help rebuild trust, Blank said, adding the school district has budget issues. "I'm not interested in spending money on consultants that could be spent on putting teachers and aides in front of kids."
RANTOUL – Board members Monday voted to give Rantoul Township High School support staff members 4 percent pay raises for the 2006-07 school year.
But they tabled action on administrators' salaries, adjourning their regular meeting until 6:15 p.m. June 26 when they will take up that issue again.
RANTOUL – When Rantoul school board members tabled a proposal four years ago to make sweeping changes in their elementary schools, Superintendent Bill Trankina thought briefly about retiring.
"In 23 years, that was the only time the board chose to go in a different direction," Trankina said. "There's a saying that inaction is a form of action. I felt like the proposal was a valid approach to meeting students' needs. Those were dark days."
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district is considering hiring a St. Louis communications firm to help gauge the community's feelings about the district and its building needs.
A representative of Unicom-ARC will make a presentation to the school board Monday on how it could help the district with public input. The school board meets at 7 p.m. at the Mellon building, 703 S. New St., C.
URBANA – After celebrating the accomplishments of retiring Urbana school Superintendent Gene Amberg, school board members said they're also looking at the future.
They said they're looking seriously at internal candidates to replace Amberg, who will retire June 30, 2007.
URBANA – Standing on the steps of Urbana High School this morning surrounded by cameras and well-wishers, Gene Amberg announced that he will retire on June 30, 2007.
"It's time for a new beginning," said Amberg, head of Urbana schools for 14 years and the longest-serving superintendent in the state's large unit district system. "This is a significant personal and professional decision. I'll have new goals, new ways to invest my energy."
DANVILLE – State, local and college officials sank golden shovels into the ground Wednesday morning to commemorate the beginning of a $5.4 million expansion and renovation of Danville Area Community College's Bremer Conference Center.
"It's not just bricks and mortar," said Illinois Rep. Bill Black, who spoke at the ceremony. "It's an investment in human capital."
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district has hired Zanita Willis as principal for Carrie Busey Elementary School.
Willis, of Champaign, is student services coordinator and an instructional specialist at Stratton Elementary School. The board approved her as principal of Carrie Busey at a meeting Monday night.
URBANA – How much of a teacher's work lies outside the classroom?
There are the tests and homework to grade, the meetings with parents and other teachers, the lesson planning, the improvement lectures, committees and workshops, the No Child Left Behind-inspired curriculum and test preparation. And so on.
CHAMPAIGN – Kenwood Elementary School Principal Patricia Lewis said an emotional goodbye to her students on the last day of school Friday.
It wasn't just goodbye for the summer. It was Lewis' last day with the Champaign school district, where she has spent her entire 33-year career.