URBANA – An alumnus, grandmother, and former school bus driver for Urbana School District 116 is its newest school board member.
The district recently appointed Lola Jones to fill a vacant board seat. She was sworn in on June 6 and has since attended her first meeting. Her term expires in two years.
Jones was not only a student in the district growing up – but her children and grandchildren also attended Urbana schools. She also drove school buses in the district until about a year ago.
She said her experience in the community and the district will allow her to address concerns she feels may be overlooked.
“I would like to see more parents become involved,” said Jones. “I’ve always thought that that was an issue.”
Jones also says there are few community organizations for children in Urbana.
“I mean, most of the anger and most of the frustration they bring to school because they don’t have any outlet,” said Jones.
Jones also wants to eradicate bullying. For her, it is a very personal issue.
“That is the reason why one of my sisters is disabled right now,” said Jones.
She said her sister, who is now 55-years old, was stabbed in the head with a straight razor in middle school.
“A lot of the things that go on in the school building have no business going on in the school building,” said Jones. “It’s just gotten to the point where it’s out of hand.”
Her observations come from staying connected with her kids and grandchildren, but also from what she saw while driving a school bus.
“I think that that’s a very important part of it is when you do see the dynamic changing, you have to change with it,” said Jones.
Jones said she wants to be a voice to the voiceless who notice these changes.
“I just think having a positive outlook on what this what it used to be, and how it can be, has really made me want to do more as a community advocate,” said Jones.