Democrat Nikki Budzinski, Republican Regan Deering to face off in 13th

DECATUR – Decatur business owner Regan Deering won the 13th Congressional district Republican primary on Tuesday after a close race. In November, she will face former aide to President Joe Biden, Nikki Budzinski, who secured a decisive victory in the district’s Democratic primary. Budzinski said she anticipated a challenge in November, despite her advantage in […]

Champaign to host annual Juneteenth festival at Douglass Park on Saturday

CHAMPAIGN — On Saturday, Chambanites can celebrate the end of slavery at Douglass Park with a bouncy house, photo booth, small business fair and more. Champaign Park District coordinator Robert White helped organize the Juneteenth event. He remembers the first time he learned about Juneteenth from his fraternity brother in college. “It was shocking because […]

Champaign County survey is the first step in filling rural internet gaps

URBANA — Surveyors will start knocking on doors in rural Champaign County this weekend to ask residents if they are happy with their internet service. Champaign County officials commissioned the survey to find the most efficient way to close internet gaps with $3 million in COVID-19 relief. “There might be a way that we can […]

Baby formula shortage less acute in Champaign, but tough for food insecure families

CHAMPAIGN – While the nationwide shortage of infant formula is less severe in Champaign County than elsewhere, it has hit low-income families hardest – because of state policy. Brandon Meline is the director of maternal and child health at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. He says the relatively high number of grocery stores and pharmacies […]

University of Illinois dining and building workers vote to allow September strike

URBANA — Service workers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are willing to strike in September after their current contract expires. Of the workers who cast their votes over the past two weeks, 91 percent authorized the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 to start preparing to strike. “Not only was it an overwhelming […]

Yankee Ridge hosts Urbana French immersion program

URBANA – Students learn in both French and English at Yankee Ridge Elementary School on the south side of Urbana. Yankee Ridge hosts Urbana School District 116’s only French dual-language program. “It’s not just beneficial to our students who are learning English,” said Yankee Ridge principal Mykah Jackson. “It’s also important for our students who […]

Newbery-winning author visits Champaign school for Asian American Heritage Month

CHAMPAIGN – Students at Kenwood Elementary had a special visitor on Tuesday.  Newbery-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly — a Filipina-American children’s book author — conducted a brainstorming session via Zoom with the students. She then spun a story out of the class’ brainstorm. Trevor Nadrozny is the principal at Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign. He […]

Macon-Piatt hosts family night to dispel rumors about Social Emotional Alternative Program

DECATUR — Two Special Education programs housed at Decatur Public Schools are combining next year. Administrators worry that the change has prompted misinformation to spread. “We want our new students to feel welcome. It’s not a scary place. It’s not a jail. People have almost made those correlations,” says Social Emotional Alternative Program Principal Jessica […]

Urbana schools debate renewing police officer contracts

URBANA — Urbana School District 116 is debating whether to keep police officers in its schools for another three years. Staff and students want them to stay, according to limited survey data and anecdotes from students, teachers and administrators. Taren Nance is the principal at Urbana High School. He says students trust the officer at […]

Chicago rap duo Mother Nature brings mental health skills to Unit 4 school

CHAMPAIGN – A fourth grader takes the microphone at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in Champaign, to cheers from his classmates. Professional hip hop artists – who go by the stage names Klevah and TRUTH – have set clear rules for the freestyling circle, or cypher, over the course of a week with the students. […]

Booker T. Washington students focus on ‘fun science’ on Fridays

CHAMPAIGN — A second grader asks the University of Illinois graduate student to test out the egg parachute he’s holding. It’s “Fab Friday” at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in Champaign, where students spend half the day with visitors from various math and science careers. “I’ve got a lot of kids that don’t think they […]

Unit 4 kindergarten registration closes Saturday

Registration closes Saturday for those wishing to select a school for their Champaign Unit 4 kindergartener. Families rank all 12 of the district’s elementary schools in the registration process. Then a computer algorithm places students based on the ranking and a few other factors, like where siblings attend. Orlando Thomas is the executive director of […]

With inflation, Illinois teachers earn less than they did a decade ago

A woman with a face mask holds a sign that says, "Listen to your teacher."

CHAMPAIGN — Teacher salaries in Illinois have not kept up with inflation. That’s true nationwide, according to new research by the labor union, the National Education Association. Champaign Federation of Teachers co-president Mike Sitch says he’s particularly worried about young teachers right now. “Those [young] individuals usually feel the pain of inflation more than the […]