Area Update

Gifford Grade School has good news on tax rates

GIFFORD – While tax levy increases are the norm in most other area school districts, that is not the case in the Gifford Grade School district.

Tax levy for Villa Grove schools rises 8.2 percent

VILLA GROVE – The Villa Grove school district is submitting a tax levy request of $2,663,513, an increase of 8.2 percent from last year's levy.

Superintendent Steve Poznic told board members the increase is an effort to offset budget concerns over the continued lack of state funding payments.

Proposal emerges for historical society relocation

GEORGETOWN – City officials agreed to a proposal on Monday that would lay out the terms by which the Georgetown Historical Society could move its exhibits to the former public library building.

Earlier this month, Georgetown Historical Society members told Georgetown City Council members that the Historical House at the corner of Huffman and North Main streets needs repairs to its foundation, has a termite infestation, needs new windows and a repainting, and is currently open to the public only by appointment.

1956 grad selected for Danville High's Wall of Fame

DANVILLE – Whenever Dr. Ronald Gillum returns to Danville High School, his alma mater, he enjoys looking at the Wall of Fame.

On his next visit, the 1956 graduate will see his picture among the members including the likes of Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman, Tostan founder Molly Melching and retired Superintendent David Fields.

Students, faculty bid farewell to Washington Elementary

CHAMPAIGN – There were treats for kids and gifts for teachers, an afternoon dance party in one room, a movie in another. Goodbyes until after the winter break.

But the boxes stacked in classrooms and lining the hallways were evidence that the teachers and students at Booker T. Washington Elementary School would not be coming back. Friday was the last day of classes in the building, which will be demolished to make way for a new school on the same site.

Area artists sought for Feb. 6 Fine Arts Celebration

URBANA – Organizers of Yankee Ridge School's Fine Arts Celebration seek area artists to share their talents with students, at the event from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 6 at the school.

The artists will work with children during two 50-minute sessions that include instruction and demonstrations and an opportunity for each child to try the art form. The festival is a way to give the students a taste of new forms of art that they normally wouldn't experience. In the past, artists have shared their talents in photography, self-portraiture, jewelry making, macrame/beads, watercolor, sewing, cartoon drawing, Balinese gamelan and dance. All art forms are welcome.

Westville school officials concerned about state funding

WESTVILLE – School officials approved a $2.30 million tax levy for the upcoming year on Wednesday, but said it may not be enough to offset money owed to the district from the state.

Superintendent Jim Owens said that the new levy should generate about $80,000 more than the current levy. He also said that he expects the value of property within the district to hold steady at about $50 million, allowing the schools to collect more money with just a small increase in the tax rate.

Urbana school officials decide position isn't crucial right now

URBANA – The Urbana school board has eliminated a position it created in April for a community engagement employee.

The part-time community engagement position was intended to help the district reach out to people who aren't now involved with the schools. The position was never posted or filled.

Urbana High School initiatives earn praise

URBANA – The Urbana High School sophomore was failing English.

He had the ability to do well, but he didn't turn in assignments. A group of teachers talked about how to get him back on track and came up with a plan that allowed him to make up the work for partial credit.

Within six weeks, the boy had raised his English grade to a C.

Oakwood school board OKs tax levy

OAKWOOD – School board members approved the district's 2009 levy Wednesday, which will entail a slight increase in the tax rate.

Superintendent Keven Forney is budgeting on $3,659,400 in estimated funds to be allocated to the district.