News Local/State

Bonnett Leaving Champaign School Board

Champaign School Board President Laurie Bonnett and School Board Member Kerris Lee speak at a press conference on Sept. 26, 2013 at the Mellon Administrative Center.

Champaign School Board President Laurie Bonnett (left) with School Board Member Kerris Lee, speaking at a school district news conference in 2013 in Champaign. Sean Powers/Illinois Public Media

Former Champaign Unit Four School Board President Laurie Bonnett is stepping down from the board, to move with her family to Pittsburgh.

Bonnett a former chief of staff for then-State Senator Mike Frerichs, was president of the Unit Four School Board during its efforts to convince voters to pay for facilities plans that included building a new Champaign Central High School on the far north edge of the city. The board considered other locations for Champaign Central, but concluded the site along Interstate Drive was the only viable one.

But voters rejected the idea ---- twice. Along with the 2nd rejection in the spring of 2015, voters elected five new members to the Unit Four School Board. And the new board chose Chris Kloeppel to replace Bonnett as their president.

In her farewell statement released at the Monday night school board meeting, Bonnett said she had found her work on the board fulfilling and meaningful. And she said it would take the entire community, not just a school district’s administration or board, to meet the needs of the children of Unit Four,.

“It is my hope that this community takes the challenge to heart when faced with upcoming decisions for our future young leaders,” said Bonnett.

Bonnett leaves behind a Champaign School Board whose members --- except for Lynn Stuckey --- were mostly elected for the first time last spring. Bonnett herself was a new board member when she was chosen as its president nearly three years ago.

The Unit Four School Board serves residents in Champaign, Savoy, Bondville and adjacent rural areas.

UPDATE: Bonnett is leaving an open seat on the Unit Four School Board. The Board is now accepting applications to fill the seat for the remainder of Bonnett's term, which runs through April 2017.

To be eligible for the office, an application must be at least 18 years of age at the date of application, and a registered voter; be a resident of the Unit Four school district for at least one year at the date of application.

An application for the office is available here. It should be delivered or mailed by 4:30 PM, Wednesday, January 27, 2016, to:

Kathy Shannon, Secretary, Board of Education

Champaign Community Unit School District #4, Mellon Administrative Center

703 S. New Street, Champaign, IL 61820

or emailed to Kathy Shannon at:

(UPDATED: 1/12/16 12:00 PM)