Prep class helps middle school students 'move it forward'

DANVILLE – LaMyron Randle got Bs and Cs in most of his classes at North Ridge Middle School, but he struggled with math.

"It was fractions," said the 15-year-old, who had to repeat seventh grade after failing the subject. "I wanted to understand. I just didn't get it."

Official proposes in-house fingerprinting for Urbana school district

URBANA – Come next year, new volunteers, teachers and staff in the Urbana school district may not have to take their fingers – or their cars – so far as they get ready for school.

Last summer, the school district began requiring regular volunteers to get fingerprinted, with the prints to be used to check law enforcement databases.

Champaign district to take look at ex-health building

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district is looking at the old public health building at 710 N. Neil St. as a possible site for an alternative high school program.

The school board approved a feasibility study of the building, without any discussion, at its meeting Monday night. BLDD Architects will do the study at a cost not to exceed $10,000.

New Rantoul deans making discipline progress

RANTOUL – Rantoul Township High School's progressive discipline plan and the hiring of two deans to enforce that plan have improved behavior among students, Superintendent Dave Requa said.

The two deans, Christopher Garard and Todd Wilson, began work in the fall. They gave a progress report on the first semester to the school board on Monday night.

Allerton land sale, IMPE name change on agenda

University of Illinois trustees later this week will consider selling some Allerton land along the Sangamon River to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

University officials are recommending the UI sell 150 acres, on the north side of the river and east of Allerton Park, to the state agency. About 9 acres of the parcel is farmland; the rest is within the Sangamon River floodplain.

G-RF school district has uses for state funding increase

GEORGETOWN – Superintendent Kevin Tate said Monday he is hopeful that the district will get an additional $300,000 from the state over the next six months, and that he should have an accurate figure by the end of January.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm School Board members approved a $10.05 million spending plan for the 2007-08 fiscal year last fall that included $194,000 in deficit spending. At that time, Tate estimated the district would generate about $9.86 million in the upcoming fiscal year if it got the same amount of general state aid it received last year – about $5 million. Although the state budget included about $300,000 in additional state aid to the district, Tate said he was skeptical the district would get that amount, and built no increased funding into his budget.

Numbers reflect ethanol's effect on other crops

The rise of ethanol use and production is being felt in fields across Illinois, according to figures released over the weekend by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But some local ag leaders said rising soybean prices and the high price of nitrogen could mean a rebound for soybean production in 2008.

Danville school board to vote on buying new textbooks

DANVILLE – Kindergarten through fifth-graders could be learning from new science and social science textbooks next school year.

The Danville school board on Wednesday will vote on a recommendation to buy textbooks for the 2008-09 school year from the Houghton Mifflin Company.

Urbana board to decide if past talks need to stay confidential

URBANA – When the Urbana school board meets on Tuesday evening, at least part of the talking will be about what the board can't talk about.

At the 7:30 p.m. business meeting, the board will review minutes of past closed sessions to determine whether the discussions still need confidentiality. Types of issues that allow a closed meeting – where no public or reporters are allowed to attend – are discussions of individual staff members' performances or situations where the district has or expects litigation either against the district or on its behalf.

Parkland trustees will decide on status of interim president

CHAMPAIGN – Parkland College Interim President Tom Ramage will learn Wednesday whether that "interim" in his title will stay or go.

Trustees will likely take action on the status of Ramage when they meet at 7 p.m. at Parkland's Ag Tech Center.