USD #116 Ask Me – Q&A page


Dr. Owen, Superintendent of Urbana School District #116 and his Tiger Staff are looking to answer your questions about Urbana Schools, education in general, blogging as the superintendent, and the weather! Ask your question here! Answers will be posted below.  If you have a questions that needs an individual response, please include your name and contact information (phone and/or email).  Names and contact information will not be published with the questions on the web site.


I am confused about the start dates for 7-8 grade students in August. The 2016-17 printable calendar says Aug.18 for 1 – 6 and 9, Aug. 19 all HS in attendance, etc. I assume that this is a typo, and 7-8 grades start on Aug. 18, but a clarification would be appreciated.

6. June 2016

A:  Thanks for the question! This year Urbana Middle School will start the 6th graders in the same fashion as Urbana High School starts the 9th graders, all by themselves.  So, first day of school for the UMS 7th and 8th graders will be Friday, August 19th.  We will update the printable calendar to clarify the start date for the returning middle school students.  UMS will send out communications about the start dates to the parents prior to the start of school and the information will be communicated at Centralized Registration.

How many total students are in USD#116 INCLUDING early childhood preschool?

11. May 2016

A: Thanks for your question! Currently (as of today, May 11), USD #116 enrollment, including our early childhood school students, sits at 4,428 students. This includes our early childhood school, six elementary schools, middle school, and high school. As stated in the question below, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) does a good job keeping track of district enrollment figures and demographics at the Illinois School Report Card web site.

How many total students are in USD#116 (NOT including early childhood preschool)?

25. April 2016

A:  Thanks for your question!  Currently, USD #116 enrollment, minus our early childhood school students, sits at 4,093 students.  This includes our six elementary schools, middle school, and high school.  Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) does a good job keeping track of district enrollment figures and demographics at the Illinois School Report Card web site.

Would it be possible to arrange a tour of Washington school prior to its sale? Several alum will be in town this summer for UHS reunions and this would be a great trip down memory lane!

18. April 2016

A:  Thank you for your question about touring the former Washington School building. The public bid process will end on May 11, 2016.  If a winning bid is selected, we will close on the property no later than June 30, 2016, however closing may occur prior to that date. Unfortunately, once the transfer is complete, the property is out of District control.  We do have a general tour of Washington schedule for April 28th10:00 a.m.  We also encourage our alumni groups to contact Superintendent Donald Owen (217-384-3600) for tours of Urbana schools.  

Why isn’t the UHS track available 24/7?

6. April 2016

A:  Thank you for your question about the track in the McKinley Athletic Fields, at Urbana High School.  We invite our neighbors to use the UHS track on a limited basis, however, we ask the public’s understanding that the facility is first and foremost, a place of learning for our students. We do not allow continuous public access to any of our learning environments, however, we understand our track is a unique space and asset to the community.

The renovation of Urbana School District 116’s McKinley Athletic Complex provides world class athletic fields for Urbana students for physical education, interscholastic athletic opportunities, and extracurricular activities. The field’s were renovated in 2011 with our students in mind – to provide them the best facility possible for academics and athletics. The complex was built using funds raised from the 1% sales tax and funds from the Life Safety budget line. These are the same funds that have been used to complete the renovations of the Cobb Memorial Auditorium in UHS, as well as the construction of Urbana Early Childhood School and Prairie Gymnasium at Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr Elementary and will continue to be used for projects throughout the District.USD #116 believes in being good financial stewards, as well as good managers of the properties and buildings we have throughout Urbana’s many diverse neighborhoods.

Page 4 of 9