Urbana schools begin hunt for solution to aging pre-K center

URBANA – Washington Early Childhood Center has character: high ceilings, big picture windows, the feel of a good-old-days schoolhouse.

But character doesn't get a child in a wheelchair up the stairs.

Search panel formed in Arcola for new superintendent

ARCOLA – The Arcola school board has formed a search committee to replace Superintendent Reggie Clinton.

Clinton resigned earlier this week, effective Dec. 21.

Academy gives hope to students behind on credits

CHAMPAIGN – When Columbia Center Principal Charles Hogue and Dean of Students Cynthia Keller-Higgins put together a spreadsheet last summer listing all their high school students and the credits they had earned, a number of students caught their attention immediately.

Even though the students were 16 and 17 years old and ought to be upperclassmen, they had each earned only 12 credits or fewer. One student had only one credit. It takes 22 credits to graduate from high school in Champaign.

Rantoul school district requesting increase in tax levy

RANTOUL – Rantoul City Schools will ask for $3.9 million in property taxes next year, 11.7 percent more than this year's levy.

State law requires increases of more than 5 percent to be subject to a truth in taxation hearing, which is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Dec. 18.

$19.8 million tax levy approved by Danville school board

DANVILLE – Danville school officials hope to bring in more property tax revenue next year.

"We're anticipating a 5 percent increase in (equalized assessed valuation) next year," Shanae Hinkle, the district's business and finance director, said, adding the district plans to capture the projected growth of the equalized assessed valuation in the district.

Academy plan receives cool reception

CHAMPAIGN – A proposal for an alternative evening academy for high school students was tabled after drawing heavy criticism from the Champaign school board Monday evening.

The board asked district administrators to come back with a different proposal. Concerns ranged from the salary for the director to the hours the academy would operate.

School resource officers continue to build bonds with kids

CHAMPAIGN – The office has warm brown walls, wood furniture and low lighting. A small waterfall bubbles in the background. The door is closed to the bright, noisy, institutional hallways where high school students are moving to their next classes.

But Ed Wachala's "Pottery Barn Zen" office is anything but a stress-free environment.

G-RF board likely to approve $2.62 million tax levy

GEORGETOWN – School board members unveiled a proposed $2.62 million tax levy for the upcoming year on Monday, and plan to approve it in December.

The proposed tax levy reflects a $191,500 increase from the current $2.43 million levy.

UI construction projects up for vote

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is expected to consider several construction and renovation projects on campus, most notably a new facility to house a $200 million supercomputer.

Trustees will meet Wednesday on the University of Illinois at Springfield campus. On their agenda: approving a $72.5 million budget and a separate construction management contract for the petascale building on the south end of the Urbana-Champaign campus.

READY school celebrates decade of success

CHAMPAIGN – Planners who founded Champaign's READY school 10 years ago say performance at the alternative school has far exceeded their expectations.

"It's the one piece of legislation I'm most proud of," said former state Sen. Rick Winkel of the Regional Safe Schools Act that established READY and 103 other schools in the state.