Board to begin Culver's evaluation

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board will begin its evaluation of Superintendent Arthur Culver on Thursday evening, but it won't be extending his contract any further this year.

The board will meet in closed session at 6 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C, but it will not formally evaluate Culver at the meeting.

No future for FutureGen?

MATTOON – The proposed $1.8 billion FutureGen clean coal power plant scheduled to be built in Mattoon may not be built after all, and politicians are claiming it's a victim of partisan politics.

Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told much of the Illinois congressional delegation Tuesday morning that his department plans to disband the FutureGen Alliance and move in a different direction.

Governor blasts Department of Energy's plans

Gov. Rod Blagojevich released an angry statement Tuesday after learning of the Department of Energy's plans to "restructure" the FutureGen plans.

"Only after it became clear that an Illinois site would be chosen over a Texas site, the department suggested the project be delayed and now today, that it be dismantled," said Gov. Rod Blagojevich in a written statement.

Mentoring helps unify students

DANVILLE – If St. Paul's eighth-grader Joe Cahill felt a little nervous taking over teacher Laura Hensgen's computer class on Tuesday afternoon, you'd never know it.

When third-graders filed in to the Catholic elementary school's computer lab, Joe wasted no time directing them to their workstations and helping them open a software program. Then he administered a keyboarding test, calling out letters with authority.

Legislator sponsors bill for education

An area congressman is throwing his support behind a bill that creates partnerships between rural schools and colleges and employers.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, announced recently he was a co-sponsor of the College and University Rural Education Act (HR 4139).

Local ministers urge students to work hard in school

CHAMPAIGN – The Rev. Charles Nash was standing at a table full of boys in the Central High School cafeteria Monday, struggling to be heard over the din.

Nash talked about college, what the students need to focus on in high school, and what happens to those who don't take education seriously. The boys laughed and joked with each other. But they listened too.

Firm hired to fix Rantoul HS humidity problems

RANTOUL – By the time Rantoul Township High School students return to classes this fall, school officials anticipate that the building's humidity problems will have become a thing of the past.

The high school board agreed at a special meeting Monday night to approve a $15,770 contract with Peoria-based Entec to recommend humidity, heating and cooling improvements for the west wing.

Grant funds to aid districts' study

BEMENT – Administrators from Atwood-Hammond, Arthur, Bement and Lovington school districts will receive nearly $8,000 for a school reorganization study.

"I would anticipate the study to be completed by the end of the year," said Bement Superintendent Darrell Stevens. "The time frame will depend on the researchers."

Prayer issue discussed at meeting

CHAMPAIGN – A Champaign school board member questioned whether allowing students an excused tardy for them to pray at school is justifiable.

The issue came up at a school board meeting Monday evening.

Middle school revamp on agenda

DANVILLE – South View Middle School officials are doing something different this year to gear students up for the high-stakes standardized testing in March.

They modified the daily schedule to eliminate a 20-minute homeroom period at the start of the day, shortened passing time between classes and added a 30-minute "homeroom-flex" period at the end of the day. During that period, teachers review deficient areas in reading and math. They also go over strategies aimed at improving students' test-taking skills and confidence, and ultimately, their scores.