District 87 | WGLT

District 87

Georgia Nugent
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Education has been deeply impacted by both the COVID-19 pandemic and rising pressure to end racism. 

Local education administrators detailed how they’re responding to the concurrent issues during a virtual Bloomington-Normal NAACP town hall Thursday night.

Karen with her students
Facebook / Irving Elementary School

Remote learning presents unique challenges for students from low-income families, though the principal at one such school in west Bloomington says so far they’ve managed quite well.

Boxed lunches
Facebook/Unit 5

Many Bloomington-Normal kids will no longer get the free school meals they've been getting since the start of the pandemic.

Heather's learning pod
Heather Roberts / Courtesy

Overwhelmed. Flustered. Outraged. Exhausted. That’s how Marti Stevens of Bloomington has felt over the past few weeks on the back-to-school rollercoaster.

Educators in Bloomington-Normal public schools say they support the goals of racial justice and equality that embody the Black Lives Matter movement, but they are not on board with all of the group's demands.

Laptop is handed off to parent
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Unit 5 says government trade restrictions will delay the arrival of Chromebooks and tablets it planned to distribute to elementary students to help with remote learning.

Brigette Beasley and Barry Reilly
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly told school board members Wednesday night he wants to see substantial progress in the region’s COVID-19 response and caseload before he would consider reopening schools for in-class instruction.

Picture of University High School
Staff / WGLT

The Illinois State University Lab Schools are following Unit 5 and District 87 in telling parents and families the fall term will start with online classes.

Barry Hitchins and Amy Roser at Unit 5 school board meeting
Izzy Carroll / WGLT

Now that Bloomington-Normal's public school districts have decided to begin the school year with remote learning, parents and educators have begun to scramble to arrange for child care for working parents.

District 87 sign outside Bloomington Junior High School.
Eric Stock / WGLT

Public schools in Bloomington-Normal will not open for in-person instruction this fall as planned.

Bloomington High School entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 has canceled its band camp at Bloomington High School after a student who attended the camp tested positive for the coronavirus.

School buses lined up
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Bloomington-Normal parents say they’re feeling anxious, guilty, and very uncertain as they begin to make decisions about whether to send their kids back to school or keep them home this fall.

Person cleans a classroom
Charlie Neibergall / AP

The union that represents Unit 5 teachers is calling on the district to revise its just-released pandemic reopening plan to address "hundreds of unanswered questions" and then "move forward in a way that reduces risk and keeps students and staff safe."

Bloomington High School
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said he understands the hesitation teachers have about returning to the classroom next month in the midst of a pandemic.

LeRoy Elementary School
Facebook/LeRoy Elementary School

School districts have surveyed families to get a better idea of how to plan for the upcoming school year, knowing the pandemic could easily change those plans.

Outside of Irving Elementary School in Bloomington
WGLT file photo

A Bloomington grade school teacher has produced a children's book that she feels will better serve a more diverse student population.

Kids run on playground
Elise Amendola / AP

McLean County school districts have a lot of decisions to make now that the state has released its guidelines for reopening. But one thing they agree on: Requiring kids to wear a mask all day every day at school is going to be a challenge.

Crews working on bucket lift
Eric Stock / WGLT

Many buildings in Bloomington-Normal have largely sat idle for months during the pandemic, but maintenance crews still have work to do and in some cases they've taken advantage of the time to work ahead.

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 has assembled a task force of administrators, teachers and other district employees to help fine tune its e-learning program if schools remain closed in the fall because of the pandemic.

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 is looking to issue $15 million in working cash bonds to cushion the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In anticipation of the uncertainty, we are looking for make sure we have adequate funds in the bank to be able to cover our expenses,” said Colin Manahan, the district's chief financial and facilities officer.“We’re just concerned about cash flow. We are concerned about the ability to collect property tax revenue. We are concerned about being able to meet payroll expenses.”

Craig Lee
Courtesy / Craig Lee

With schools closed and gatherings prohibited, one District 87 teacher is taking advantage of being able to connect with students in a unique way.

Monica Estabrook

For Bloomington High School art teacher Monica Estabrook, losing the emotional connection she had with her students has been the most challenging aspect of the transition to online learning.

District 87 sign outside Bloomington Junior High School.
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 is contesting two property assessments that could impact the school system's share of tax revenue.

Bloomington-Normal elementary and middle school students are adapting to extended online classes
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Turns out kids do miss school. Well, most of them.

Boy on a laptop
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Unit 5 and District 87 school districts are each expected to receive $1.6 million from the coronavirus rescue package signed into law last week.

Staff hand out meals
District 87 / Facebook

Unit 5 and District 87 students, parents, and teachers will shift into a new phase of remote learning this week that could be in place until the end of the school year.

Fairview Elementary
Eric Stock / WGLT

Administrators in District 87 and Unit 5 schools have developed plans to feed students who need meals while their schools are closed due to the state’s COVID-19 response.

Custodian cleans schools
Tony Dejak / AP

Bloomington-Normal students and teachers got their first taste of their new reality Monday as schools began what will be at least a two-week shutdown because of the coronavirus.

Guille Delgado working at desk
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87's new elementary school principal said she didn't seek a career in education. It found her.

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock / WGLT

The state schools superintendent is telling school districts to prepare for digital learning days if the coronavirus prompts extended school closings.