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.

Earlier start to school year in Champaign on board's agenda

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign high school students will be taking semester exams next Thursday and Friday. But that doesn't mean most of them were hard at work studying during their winter break.

"Over break, you hang out with friends and sleep all day and don't really study," said Centennial High School junior Amber Adams. "You don't really want to think about school that much. Then you come back and, 'Oh, I forgot what we're doing.' A lot of material gets lost."

Vision Committee forming working groups

SAVOY – A couple dozen community members have been recommended to do the bulk of the work in planning for programs and buildings for the future of the Champaign school district.

The district's Vision Committee, which is overseeing the planning process, narrowed down a list of recommended names when it met in Savoy on Thursday night.

Catlin board studies co-op classes with Jamaica

CATLIN – Doubtful that state money will be available for the construction of a new, three-district high school any time soon, Catlin school officials said Thursday they are exploring the possibility of combining junior high and high school classes with the neighboring Jamaica district.

"I think it's something we need to investigate," said Catlin School Board President Jeff Fauver.

Hands-on learning for government interns

DANVILLE – This semester, Miles Ashton will trade in his Danville High School ID badge for one from an Illinois Appellate Court office.

The 18-year-old, who completed his graduation credits in December, is heading to Springfield on Sunday for a legal internship through the Illinois Governmental Internship Program.