Unit 4 Officials: Leader's run in 105th not a problem

CHAMPAIGN – There's a chance that voters will decide on both a building bond proposal for the Champaign school district and on the Champaign school board president, Dave Tomlinson, for state representative in November 2008.

But Tomlinson and his fellow school board members don't believe having the school board president running for another office will affect the chances of passing a building bond proposal.

Williams brings life's lessons to new DACC job

As a Danville Area Community College instructor, Rickey Williams hopes to teach students about not just criminal justice, but also the importance of getting a college education, even if they already have a "good-paying" job.

"That's something no one can take away from you," Williams said of his bachelor's degree, which he earned 21 years after leaving college for a job at General Motors and 14 years into his tenure with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Space to play and learn

URBANA – Pebbles and a purple dinosaur do not a playground make – at least, not much of one.

But, along with swings and a truck-shaped metal structure, there isn't anything else on the Washington Early Childhood Center's south playground site. "This playground, as you can see, is old," said Principal Crystal Vowels. "'Barren' is the word that comes to mind."

Use of consultant discussed for Unit 4

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school board is considering hiring a consultant to help with the long-range plan for the district's buildings.

Kristine Chalifoux and Greg Novak, the school board members who are developing a framework for the planning process, have met with two people and plan to talk with two more who have experience working with groups on planning. All are local, and several are connected to the University of Illinois.

Danville school district gets award for conservation efforts

DANVILLE – The Danville school district has been recognized for its efforts to conserve the environment.

At Wednesday's school board meeting, officials were given an energy stewardship award from Energy Education Inc., the Texas-based company it partnered with to run an energy conservation and management program.

Monticello union members file notice for possible strike

MONTICELLO – The Monticello Education Association voted "overwhelmingly" Tuesday night to file an intent to strike as the Monticello School Board and the union have failed to reach a contract settlement.

The teachers' contract expired in August, and the two groups met with a federal mediator last Thursday, but reached no agreement.

DACC trustees OK 2007-08 budget

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College trustees on Tuesday adopted a $27.57 million balanced budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

However, officials said it's still uncertain whether the college will lose about $34,000 in state funding, which is part of grants that were allocated by the Illinois General Assembly but vetoed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Danville school district officials hopeful about finances

DANVILLE – Danville school officials hope the district's improved financial picture means it will soon be taken off the state's financial early warning list, where it has been for four years.

Superintendent Nanette Mellen said a preliminary report on an independent audit of the 2006-07 fiscal year shows the district's finances look "very good."

G-RF board OKs conservative spending plan

GEORGETOWN – School officials approved a $10.05 million spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year on Monday that may include $194,000 in deficit spending.

Georgetown-Ridge Farm Superintendent Kevin Tate estimates the district will generate about $9.86 million in the upcoming fiscal year if it receives the same amount of general state aid as last year – about $4.6 million. Tate said the state budget that was passed weeks ago includes about $300,000 in additional state aid to the district, but that he was skeptical the district would receive that amount, and built no increased funding into his budget.

School walk will promote student wellness

CHAMPAIGN – Almost as soon as children are back in the classroom each fall, parents are circulating fundraising catalogs to friends, family and co-workers. Sales of magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper and candy help pay for many activities for students.

Westview Elementary School is trying something different this year. Instead of the usual fall fundraiser, the school is holding a walk. Children are asking for donations, and students, staff, parents and others will walk a quarter-mile course around the school Friday morning.