Boost in state funding coming to Villa Grove schools

VILLA GROVE – The Villa Grove school district received some good news after its most recent financial audit from the State Board of Education.

The state auditor reported the budget amounts submitted for the 2006-07 transportation claim process were too conservative. Superintendent Steve Poznic told the school board Monday that due to the miscalculation, the district can expect an additional $100,000 in state funding for its transportation budget.

Blue Ridge board approves junior high renovations

MANSFIELD – The Blue Ridge Junior High will get more renovations, after a vote by the school board.

The Blue Ridge school board voted 7-0 Monday to approve $800,000 in renovations at the school. The project includes heating/ventilation/air conditioninig work, basic classroom renovations, ceiling replacement and air conditioning in the gymnasium, refurbishment of the locker rooms, and lowering the ceiling in the main hallway.

Fisher student handbook changes reviewed

FISHER – The Fisher school board reviewed changes to the student handbook that go into effect next school year.

Ben Derges, dean of students at the junior/senior high school, said extensive changes were made to that handbook. A committee of teachers reviewed it, streamlined it and modified it in the areas of attendance, tardies, cell phone use, dress code and the grading system.

First Student workers vote to join Teamsters Local 26

Drivers with the First Student bus company in Urbana have voted to become part of Teamsters Local 26.

First Student provides bus service for the Urbana school district. The company also has transportation contracts with school districts throughout Illinois, including Danville, and around the country.

UI scholar's 'Art in Conversation' talk set tonight

URBANA – Culture critic Jabari Asim, scholar-in-residence at the University of Illinois Department of Journalism and the UI's African American Studies program, will give an "Art in Conversation" talk at 5:15 p.m. today at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Earlier this month, Asim was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in creative arts. The fellowships are cash grants intended to free up time for those in mid-career. There are no conditions on how the money is spent.

Danville High phones to be down during tests this week

DANVILLE – The phones at Danville High School will be shut off temporarily on Wednesday and Thursday when students take their high-stakes standardized tests.

Juniors will take the ACT national college entrance exam on Wednesday. Phones will be shut off until 12:50 p.m. that day.

Local author combines curiosity, danger in book of experiments

CHAMPAIGN – If you've ever been enthralled by Theo Gray's "Gray Matter" column in Popular Science magazine, you're in for a treat.

The chemistry buff has bundled 55 of his most outrageous experiments into "Mad Science," a 239-page, full-color, hardcover book published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

Private school administrator picked as next Uni High principal

URBANA – The next principal of University Laboratory High School hopes to blend the best of public and private education at the school.

Glee club changes booed by some UI alumni

URBANA – Changes to the University of Illinois Varsity Men's Glee Club have some alumni singing an unhappy tune.

They're upset students can no longer simply try out for the glee club, but must instead audition before a panel of music faculty, who then assign students to whichever School of Music choir is deemed to be the best match.

Champaign consent decree hearing to focus on north seats

PEORIA – Lawyers on both sides of the Champaign school district's consent decree case will argue later this month on whether the decree should be extended.

U.S. District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade set a hearing for 9 a.m. April 28 at the federal district court in Peoria. The hearing is open to the public.