Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel | WGLT

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel

Breanna Grow / WGLT

Unit 5 will avoid a major deficit without cutting education expenses for the 2018-2019 school year.

Mark Daniel
Staff / WGLT

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said the district has about a year and a half until a referendum becomes necessary to maintain the current quality of education.

Children getting onto a school bus
Staff / WGLT

Editor's note: This is Part 4 of GLT’s Skipping School, a special series about the teacher shortage facing Illinois schools. You can also read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Courtesy / Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council

Two community leaders who got a peek behind the Rivian curtain Monday say they returned from Michigan more optimistic about the EV startup's future.

Gerald Herbert / AP

Plans are taking shape for Bloomington-Normal high schoolers to participate in a national walkout movement this month aimed at curbing gun violence in schools.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board on Wednesday approved Nathan Fincham as the new Normal West high school football coach. But the action came with concerns voiced by the public.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board on Wednesday voted to renew its contract with First Student for two years, with some board members saying the bus vendor has restored their faith in the company.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Unit 5’s school board on Monday reluctantly approved around $400,000 in property-tax breaks for a Canadian manufacturer in exchange for the promise of hundreds of new local jobs.

Cindy Le / WGLT

Unit 5 may still pursue some parts of a proposed farm-to-school program, but a school board resolution driving the idea has stalled, officials said Tuesday.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board is looking into bringing local food to its school cafeterias.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Unit 5 leaders say the school district’s mission is to help each student achieve personal excellence.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board has approved a 3 percent increase in spending in its next budget, even as it faces an overall deficit.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

A cost-cutting move in Unit 5 schools may be paying off in another way for students.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said Wednesday he is cautiously optimistic the school's bus contractor will do better than the start of school last year.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A plan being floated to steer taxpayer money toward a voucher-like program for families that send their children to private schools is a dangerous step backward toward segregation, Unit 5’s superintendent said Tuesday.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Will Unit 5’s bus system be ready to go on the first day of school Aug. 16?

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five grade school enrollment will go down in Bloomington-Normal and high school enrollment will rise for the next few years.

That's according to a new demographic study presented to Unit Five school board members Wednesday night.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The Unit Five School Board is starting a new journey without two long-term members.

The board is recognizing Gail Ann Briggs and John Puzauskas for a combined 65 years of service.

Unit 5 district offices
Staff / WGLT

The head of the Unit Five School District says he is pushing the panic button firmly about state aid payments. Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas, Superintendent Mark Daniel said the district will run out of money about the end of the spring legislative session.

"We will not be able to have a balanced budget. So we will be in deficit spending: My great concern is if there is no state budget then how are they going to make payments in the future," said Daniel.

Evans Jr. High School

The new Principal at Evans Jr. High school is a familiar face around Unit 5 schools. 

Chris McGraw currently serves as the Associate Principal and Athletic Director at Evans.

Staff / WGLT

It is said, not altogether jokingly, that only two things are guaranteed to get a school superintendent fired: trying to kill off a school mascot and school redistricting.

Unit Five in Bloomington-Normal is not trying to change mascots. But it has been roughly five years since the district last drew new school boundaries, and the district is just starting that process again.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said they are beginning the ticklish job of approaching this third rail of education administration.

Unit Five Superintendent Mark Daniel said every high school student should have the opportunity to get an internship before they graduate.

Daniel said it is important to allow students  to  look into different career paths such as engineering.

Staff / WGLT

The end of an era in Bloomington Normal education is fast approaching.

Unit Five School Board member Gail Ann Briggs is stepping down from the board in April.

She began her service in 1976. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

The Unit Five School District and its bus service contractor have agreed on more than thirty-thousand-dollars in penalties for late bus problems since the start of the school year.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Transportation provider First Student has less than a week to fix the multiple busing issues affecting students in Unit 5 schools. The school board voted Wednesday night to give the company until November 1 to reach an agreement with concessions for the problems, including financial compensation.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said there can't be inconsistency on the definition of late buses between Unit 5 and First Student. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

The Unit Five School Superintendent hopes the district's bus contractor has turned the corner for on time performance.

Mark Daniel says there was only one bus late Wednesday morning and the contractor, First Student, has now settled a labor agreement with bus drivers that offers a raise, a signing bonus, and guaranteed hours per shift.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit 5 Schools is giving bus contractor First Student one month to prove they are reliable.  The school board voted last night to give the company a November 1 extension to fix transportation problems that have plagued the company since the beginning of the school year.  If First Student declines, Unit 5 will terminate the contract for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five is meeting with the State School Superintendent Thursday about the lack of bus drivers and hopes to meet with the Governor soon.

The district has been plagued by late buses since school began.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five Schools officials, parents, and students continue to grapple with bus issues. At least twice in the last week, more than a dozen bus drivers have called in saying they could not show up for work. This has delayed some students' arrival at school by more than two hours.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Nearly two weeks after school began, officials at Unit 5 are still trying to sort out massive transportation problems that came following nearly a year of planning for different bus routes brought on by schedule changes and budget cuts.

The problem was so pervasive, more than 300 people packed a meeting room at Normal West High School last Wednesday night to complain. 

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