Search for Parkland president down to 6 finalists

CHAMPAIGN – Six finalists picked as candidates for Parkland President Zelema Harris' job will visit campus in March to meet students, community representatives and members of the board.

Finalists picked this week who will visit Champaign include: Betty Young, president of Northwest State Community College at Archbold, Ohio; Robert Exley, vice president of academic affairs at Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs; and Eric McKeithan, president of Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington, N.C. They will visit campus on March 8, 9 and 10, respectively.

Zoologist lets kids get close look at wild animals

TOLONO – It's not every day you get to pet an alligator.

Or an ostrich for that matter.

Urbana assistant principal to assume top post in fall

URBANA – School board members Tuesday unanimously named Laura Taylor new principal of Urbana High School beginning in the 2006-07 school year.

Taylor, who's now assistant principal, will replace John Woodward, who was hired in 2002 and is retiring at the end of this school year.

White enrollment down as parents weigh options

CHAMPAIGN – Dave Tewksbury firmly supports the $66 million building plan for Champaign schools. Marci Dodds thinks she does, too.

Which is notable because both Champaign parents moved their second-graders into private schools this year.

New subdivisions will fuel population and enrollment boom, officials say

CHAMPAIGN – School officials say population trends and new development in Champaign and Savoy that emerged after demographer Robert Dentler completed his study justify two new schools.

Chief financial officer Gene Logas said Dentler's study, completed in 2004, projects 202 new elementary students for the Champaign district between now and 2008-09, when the new schools would be completed.

Champaign schools plan ahead for space needs

CHAMPAIGN – Kristine Chalifoux, who has two children in Champaign schools, doesn't get the math.

"To me, it doesn't work," Chalifoux said of Champaign school officials' $66 million proposal to build two new elementary schools and replace a third.

A bridge to explaining troubled waters

Put a cutting board or something else flat in the bottom of your kitchen sink and turn on the faucet.

You should see a thin film of water in the rough circle that makes up the middle, a band of roiling, albeit miniature, rapids after that and finally a stretch where the puddle you've made flattens and flows with more or less even regularity.

Educators, mentors honored

CHAMPAIGN – Members of the local black community honored their own Saturday at the 20th annual Black Women's Achievement Dinner.

Women honored include four educators – Parkland College President Zelema Harris, Urbana High School social worker Grace Mitchell, Urbana High School Dean Polly Washington, and Stratton School teacher Jeanette Osler, who founded the event.

C-U's Enrollment Loss is Other Schools' Gain

The growth in Champaign County's "suburban" school districts is fairly small percentage-wise, but school officials say that doesn't tell the whole story.

Case in point: Mahomet-Seymour's enrollment has been relatively flat, with 26 more students last year than in 1998-99. But it actually took in 100 new students this year alone. The district has become more transient, with more families moving in and out as they transfer jobs, Superintendent John Alumbaugh said.

Two campaigning to lead Champaign school board

CHAMPAIGN – There's a mini-election campaign going on in Champaign school board circles – members lobbying fellow members to gain support for their bid for the board presidency.

"It's a campaign among seven people, and there's a lot of persuading going on," said Margie Skirvin, the more experienced of the two candidates who want to replace Champaign dentist Scott Anderson as board president. Anderson will step down as president in March with a year left to serve on the board.