Champaign school, park boards, council to meet as one

CHAMPAIGN – Members of the Champaign school board, the city council and the park district board will meet Monday evening to talk about plans for two schools in north Champaign.

The school district plans to rebuild Washington Elementary School and expand Garden Hills Elementary School, and add programs to make each a magnet school. Both schools are next to parks, and the park board has pledged to work with the school district on the proposed projects.

Monticello school district gets excellent audit report

MONTICELLO – The Monticello school board got an excellent audit report earlier this week when Auditor Robin Yockey of Mose Yockey Brown and Kull LLC told the board they received financial recognition status, the highest ranking a school district can receive.

The district received an overall score of 3.8 out of 4. The board approved the auditor's report 7-0.

Children's home gets 1st installment of good cheer from Orange Krush

Cunningham just one of agencies benefiting from $240,000 raised by student section

Former Illini Coach Lou Henson started the Orange Krush student cheering section back in the 1970s to generate more spirit at Illini basketball games.

Architects discuss design of UI Business Instructional Facility

Native Argentinian and University of Illinois alumnus Cesar Pelli is the architect behind the new Business Instructional Facility, a $64 million building at the corner of Sixth Street and Gregory Drive in Champaign.

Considered one of the campus's first "green" buildings, the Business Instructional Facility features a literal green roof, complete with plants, solar panels to provide energy to the building and sophisticated lighting and air-handling systems. And its design features, such as floating staircases and a commons area lit naturally by four stories of windows, has turned a few heads.

Residents get info on proposed changes for Garden Hills Elementary

CHAMPAIGN – A plan to turn Garden Hills Elementary School into a magnet school has one neighboring resident's support.

"I'm excited because I think it will be a great asset for our school and neighborhood," Amy Revilla said.

PTA's Minsker to get award from state board of education

CHAMPAIGN – When Brian Minsker started going to PTA meetings at Robeson Elementary School nine years ago, he was usually the only man in the room.

He was a stay-at-home dad, and his wife wanted to be home with their two sons in the evenings, so it was natural he was the one going to the PTA meetings. After quietly observing from the back of the room for the first year or two, he volunteered to be a committee chairman.

Bilingual team at Washington School saluted by state board

CHAMPAIGN – For the bilingual team of teachers at Washington Elementary School and their students, the line between home and school is blurred. The Spanish-speaking children at the school are not just students to the teachers. They're family too.

The teachers attend First Communions. They get the kids into soccer, Boy Scouts or art classes. They sometimes translate for the parents. They find winter coats for the children. One teacher even bought a graduation dress for a needy student.

Report shows test scores above average in Heritage district

HOMER – Heritage school board members reviewed the state's 2008 Illinois School Report Card and learned that overall performance on state tests in the 2007-2008 academic year exceeded state averages.

The report, which also assesses instructional settings, average class size, staff salaries, expenditures and revenue sources, will be posted on the district Web site by the end of October and is available at the superintendent's office by request.

St. Joseph third-graders spend time on the farm

SIDNEY – The low drone of heavy harvest equipment can be heard throughout Central Illinois this time of year. A couple of generations ago, hundreds of workers were needed to carry out the harvest. And in those days, that included children.

Nominating petitions available Monday for school elections

Residents interested in running for the Champaign or Urbana school board or the Parkland College board of trustees may pick up nominating petitions beginning Monday.

The Champaign and Urbana school boards each have three seats up for election next April. In Champaign, they are currently filled by Nathaniel Banks, Arlene Blank and Dave Tomlinson. In Urbana, they are filled by Cope Cumpston in Subdistrict 4, Ruth Ann Fisher in Subdistrict 3 and Mark Netter in Subdistrict 5.