Accused student back in school

URBANA – At least two parents of Urbana High School students are upset that one student criminally charged with sexually assaulting another during school is back in class before his criminal case is resolved.

The accused youth's lawyer is adamant that what happened was an accident and that the boy is appropriately in school.

Ayers shares his experiences in speech at UI's Allen Hall

URBANA – William Ayers said he and his anti-war friends at the University of Michigan celebrated when Lyndon Johnson announced his intention to end the Vietnam War on March 31, 1968.

But when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated five days later and Robert Kennedy was killed two months later, Ayers said a crisis was created in the anti-war movement.

Unit 4 financial manager creates list of building priorities

CHAMPAIGN – With less than a month before a county sales tax is up for approval again (after a narrow margin of failure when it was on the November ballot), school board financial manager Gene Logas presented a list of building priorities.

If the sales tax passes, he recommended the district take out a $70 million bond (equaling several years of sales tax income) that would cover construction for projects including adding a strand to Garden Hills Elementary and rebuilding B.T. Washington Elementary, at a cost of about $30 million. An elementary in Savoy would cost an estimated $18 million.

Danville school board to consider building purchase for warehouse operations

DANVILLE – While Danville school board members won't be ready to make a decision on a recommendation for three outdated schools on Wednesday, they could decide on buying a building for warehouse operations.

Business and Finance Director Shanae Hinkle is recommending that the district buy the McDowell warehouse and office building at 611 Oak St.

Panel to reveal facility ideas at Danville school board meeting

DANVILLE – If Michael Goodyear had his wish, the Danville school district would replace outdated North Ridge and South View middle schools and East Park Elementary School with three new buildings.

"The kids deserve a comfortable, safe, clean environment where their ability to learn isn't obstructed by any building issues," said Goodyear, whose three daughters are students in the district.

Senate president: Education should be last thing cut

The president of the University of Illinois was happy to hear what the president of the Illinois Senate had to say about education funding.

While not suggesting there would be more money for higher education and elementary and secondary education in next year's budget, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said those would be the last items cut. Given what Cullerton called the "dramatic downturn" in tax revenue to the state, that counted as good news.

UI outage prompts work on backups for computer services

URBANA – University of Illinois officials are working with the school's sister campus in Chicago to develop backup systems that will keep communications and computer services going during extended power outages, like the one Sunday afternoon and evening.

"We had backup systems for our computers, but the backups lost power, too," UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said. The idea is "to have a backup service located on the UIC campus and vice versa to try to ensure this won't happen again."

Georgetown-Ridge Farm adding 7th period at high school

GEORGETOWN – School officials voted Monday to add a seventh class period to the day at Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School starting next year, a change that they said had benefits for all students.

Currently, students at Georgetown-Ridge Farm High take six 53-minute classes each day between 8:04 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Income replacing race in Champaign school assignments

CHAMPAIGN – For next year's Champaign kindergartners, race will no longer be a factor in where they are assigned to schools.

But their family's income will be.

UI's eDREAM Institute aims to offer society a digital boost

URBANA – A new University of Illinois institute called eDREAM aims not only to produce digitally savvy American workers and thinkers, but also to help the economy and society.

The Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media Institute will do that, and other things, by offering an online master's degree professional program and a doctorate program that will be the first of its kind in the United States.