Grant to allow for 'green job' training at Parkland College

CHAMPAIGN – More than 1,000 area residents could get trained for "green jobs" as the result of a $375,000 grant to Parkland College.

Some of the money will be used to prepare unemployed and dislocated workers for careers as weatherization installers and technicians.

The rest will be used to train workers with construction, building or contracting experience to do wind, solar and geothermal retrofitting of homes and businesses.

Urbana school board approves $2 million in budget cuts

URBANA – The Urbana school board approved $2 million in budget cuts at a special meeting Sunday evening.

The cuts will mean larger class sizes and the elimination of about 20 teaching jobs.

"The board has made every effort possible to trim where we can instead of doing wholesale eliminations," board President John Dimit said. "We tried to spread the pain of this throughout the district. There's no part of the district not affected."

Champaign debate team makes inspired showing in Chicago

CHAMPAIGN – Here's how the movie went: Denzel Washington plays a professor who forms a debate team at his Texas college in 1935. It's the Jim Crow era, and the team of black students is the first to debate teams from white colleges. They go on to challenge Harvard University for the national championship.

Catlin school board cuts $350,000 from district's budget

CATLIN – School officials, anticipating a significant reduction in state funding to the district, eliminated the pre-school and agriculture programs this week as part of $350,000 in cuts to the district's budget.

Superintendent Gary Lewis said the cuts were made due to an expected drop in the level of state aid to the district, and the uncertainty of payments already from the state.

"This is not something any of us wanted to do," Lewis said.

School officials adopted a $5.03 million budget for the 2009-10 school year.

Urbana school board to vote on cuts at rare Sunday meeting

URBANA – The Urbana school board is expected to vote on $2 million in cuts to next year's budget at a special meeting this weekend.

But first, board members will revisit several items on the list of possible cuts.

The board plans to meet at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Burkholder Administrative Service Center, 205 N. Race St., U.

Ikenberry touts benefits of 'accelerated program'

CHAMPAIGN – A shorter college career could save money for students, families and the University of Illinois itself, the interim president said Wednesday.

Stanley Ikenberry told the UI Board of Trustees an "accelerated program" that could be in place for fall 2011 would raise revenue for the university while cutting tuition and letting students enter the work force earlier.

Urbana school board focuses budget cuts on trims, not eliminations

URBANA – As Urbana school board members pored over possible cuts Tuesday to trim another $700,000 from next year's budget, they suggested cutting back several programs, rather than eliminating them altogether.

"We have significant dollars left to cut," said school board member Steve Summers. "I am afraid to get to the number we are looking at, we have to either wholesale cut some programs or spread some of the suffering across the whole district if we are going to save some pieces."

UI's budget teams eye Graduate College, small units for cuts

URBANA – A second round of budget-review teams will examine for possible savings the University of Illinois Graduate College, small units on campus and programs that support teaching.

One panel will also look at how the campus can generate new sources of money – possibly through more out-of-state students or online learning – to cope with a half-billion-dollar state funding backlog and potential budget cuts down the road.

UI's new ethics committee meets for first time

CHAMPAIGN – The investigation of admissions abuses at the University of Illinois last summer led to reforms in admissions procedures, resignations of the UI president and chancellor and a revamped board of trustees.

The state commission that investigated the "Category I" list – politically connected applicants who received special consideration and were sometimes admitted ahead of more qualified candidates – also suggested changes in board governance and ethics training to prevent abuses from recurring.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm board cuts $600,000 from budget

GEORGETOWN — School officials cut $604,000 in staff, programs and materials from the upcoming school year on Monday in an effort to prepare for a drop in state funding.

Superintendent Greg Irwin said he was preparing for a $620,000 reduction in general state aid next year — a “worst-case scenario” that he said was entirely possible.

According to Irwin, from July 1, 2009 to Jan. 31, 2010, the state has fallen behind $351,858 in payments to the district. The state also still owes the district about $500,000 from the previous fiscal year.