The Champaign, Illinois School District has approved a contract to hire Longview's superintendent, Arthur Culver, as its new chief. The unanimous vote came last night during a school board meeting. Mr. Culver will be the first African American superintendent to lead Champaign schools. He says he plans to raise achievement scores for minorities in Champaign just as he did in Longview.
Culvur says his title as Longview Superintendent remains until he is formally released from his contract. Soon after, he says he will sign a five year performance based contract in Champaign, with a starting salary of $200,000 a year.
"Naturally I think that I would be a good fit for Champaign because their needs match my needs match my strengths perfectly," says Culver. He says there are similarities in racial problems between the two districts that even the board there hope he can bridge.
President of the L.I.S.D. School Board, Ted Beard, says he has been happy with Culver's accomplishments at Longview. "He and his staff, entire L.I.S.D. staff, they have met or exceeded the goals. Any opportunity to or endeavor for anybody for progression is a positive or a plus, in their life."
Culver became the center of controversy several times during his three years here. Most recently for the reassignment of a popular high school principal. The school board reversed that decision. "Unfortunately, sometimes what's best for kids may not be what's best for a political group or it may not be what's best to my career. What I found out is that if you center all your decisions based on what's best for children, God will provide the type of protection ,direction and the shield that you need in order to make it," Culver said.
Despite his new job opportunity, a meeting with a mediator between school board members and the superintendent will go on as previously scheduled Wednesday. That meeting with a mediator was set before this new job opportunity was announced.