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News Around Illinois – November 20, 2019

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Urbana Board Votes To Increase Police Presence In Schools

The Urbana District 116 Board of Education voted 4 to 3 Tuesday night to quadruple police presence in the district’s middle and high schools. The measure comes after a fight in February at the high school that resulted in multiple arrests and injuries. Since 1993, the district has had one part-time school resource officer. The board voted on a 2 and a half year intergovernmental agreement that would provide for two full-time officers — one at each school. The district will also have to foot the bill for the officers — an expense totaling more than $300,000 per year. Previously, the police department covered the cost. – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

Champaign Unit 4 Officials Prepare To Sell More Bonds

The Champaign Unit 4 School Board approved a measure during a special meeting on Tuesday allowing the district to issue up to $73.4 million worth of school building bonds. Unit 4 voters in 2016 approved a referendum allowing the district to sell $183.4 million in school building bonds to put toward construction projects at six schools and two parks; the district sold $110 million in bonds about two years ago, and Tuesday’s decision takes up the remaining amount that voters approved.

When Unit 4 voters went to the polls three years ago, the projects were expected to cost about $209 million. Now, budgets for all eight projects total more than $245 million. In addition to the bond sales, the district will use $25 million in reserves to pay for the projects.  – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois Asked To Improve Mental Health Treatments For Inmates

A federal judge is being asked to force Illinois to improve mental health treatment for people in prison.  Attorney Harold Hirshman said the state isn’t hiring enough mental health professionals to comply with past court orders. He said the Department of Corrections should have been doing more to enforce its contract with Wexford, the private company hired to run health care in the prisons. Last year, a judge found Illinois’ care for inmates with mental illness was so bad it violated the U-S Constitution. Attorneys for inmates suing the state say Illinois needs to hire at least 75 more mental health professionals in order to comply with court orders. – Brian Mackey, Illinois Public Radio Network

Parents Upset Students Opened Child-Proof Bottles At School

Parents of students at a northern Illinois elementary school are angry after an older student led an experiment that asked their children to open child-proof medicine bottles. Parents weren’t told in advance about Friday’s project at Leland Elementary School. The principal and the Leland School District superintendent sent parents a letter on Sunday saying that a junior high school student worked with kindergarten and first grade students “to gather data for a science fair project.” Superintendent Jodi Moore told the Chicago Tribune that the older student wasn’t acting maliciously. – Associated Press


Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media. He oversees daily newscasts and online stories. He also manages The 21st Show, a live, weekday talk show that airs on 7 NPR stations throughout Illinois. He is the executive producer of IPM's annual environmental TV special "State of Change." And he is the co-creator of Illinois Soul, IPM's Black-focused audio service that launched in February 2024. Before arriving at IPM in 2019, he served as News Director at WKAR in East Lansing and spent 17 years as a TV news producer and manager at KXAS, the NBC-owned station in Dallas/Fort Worth. Reginald is the recipient of three Edward R. Murrow regional awards, seven regional Emmy awards, and multiple honors from the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Vietnam, Reginald grew up in Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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