Illini West High School

It appears the public remains interested in the idea of a new Illini West High School.

Two west-central Illinois school districts will work together on a short-term building plan.

Jason Parrott

The Illini West High School District is not giving up on the idea of building a new high school.

The Board of Education agreed to put an $8 million bond issue on the April ballot. Voters rejected a $9 million issue in November 2012, so Superintendent Kim Schilson said the board decided to pare back the request.

“One of the things we were trying to look at was trying to reduce the cost, lower the tax rate on the bond, and hopefully that will help with getting the vote through,” Schilson said.

Committee Will Promote New Illini West Building

Sep 11, 2012

The Illini West School District will put a nine-million dollar bond issue before voters November 6th. If approved, it would pay for the district's share of construction of a new high school building.

Superintendent Kim Schilson says a steering committee has begun organizing to promote the bond issue.

She says, “That's one of the things they'll be working on. Forming their committees and getting organized as to exactly how they're going to attack the referendum issue. I know there will be FACT newsletters going out. That'll be the first thing.”

New Illini West High School Site Chosen

Aug 1, 2012

The Illini West School Board spent a year evaluating potential sites for a new high school.  It chose a location next door.  It is just east of the current high school's parking lot.

The 40-acre site is farmland that is currently covered by tall,  green and brown corn plants.

Those who were hoping for a central location will be disappointed.

But Superintendent Kim Schilson says such a location would come with some expensive problems to solve.

Drivers Ed Fees to Double

Jul 2, 2012

Illini West High School students will pay $100 to take Drivers Education classes next school year. The fess will double to make up for part of a state cut to the program.

Superintendent Kim Schilson says the district received $20,000 less from the state for the program than it expected.

She says, “It'll help somewhat. (The) shortfall in Drivers Ed is massive. There was a cut in the general budget on the Drivers Ed next year so the funding's going down.”

The district will also raise the district registration fee for all students from $110 to $125.      

Partnership Improves Wireless Performance

Jun 4, 2012

The partnership between Illini West High School and Carl Sandburg College has grown to include support for the high school's wireless network.

The two already offer dual-credit classes.

Superintendent Kim Schilson says the district has looked for help with limitations of its wireless network for years.

The school board turned to the college's information technology department in March for help.

Schilson says this is the first time the high school has seen progress.

Illini West School Superintendent Kim Schilson sees a bumpy financial  road for bus transportation in the district.

She said the district began this school year with $270,000 in transportation funds. A state transportation cut of 42 percent mean the district will use up $114,000 of that by the end of the current school year.

She said, “We'll still have a small surplus left in the transportation fund. But with the way transportation funding is going that will be gone next year.

Illini West High School students have seen computers on the school's wireless network freeze up with annoying regularity. The episodes often cause students to lose some of their work.

Superintendent Kim Schilson said the latest attempt won't involve a commercial firm.

She said, “We're working with Carl Sandburg College and their technology department. And they're coming and installing some new equipment and new wires. And hopefully, that's going to solve the problems.”

Illini West Exceeds State Benchmark

Jan 30, 2012

Illini West High School is exceeding a state standard for special education students.

The State of Illinois wants schools to place at least half of their special education students in general education classes for half the school day.

Just two years ago, the high school had only 30% of those students in regular classes. The district rate is up to 56%

Superintendent Kim Schilson said the district decided to start evaluating special education students during their first semester at the school.

The Illini West School Board will advertise for prospective locations for a new high school.

The board signed a contract late last year with Klingner and Associates for site selection and evaluation.  The district expected to choose from four or five sites.

Superintendent Kim Schilson said the board wants a greater selection of sites to choose from.

Illini West High School in Carthage will switch to an eight-block class schedule for the 2013-2014 school year.

Classes will meet five times every two weeks. Students will take four classes each day.

Teachers might have the most to learn during the transition.

Superintendent Kim Schilson said they will have to adapt to teaching 90-minute periods.

The district will offer teachers a great deal of professional development to ease the transition.