For many years, residents of the City of Hillsboro and the surrounding communities that make up the Hillsboro School District have consistently supported education and educational-related projects. This is evidenced through the commitment that these communities have made over the past fifty years.
This commitment, exhibited by leaders from Hillsboro and its surrounding communities of Schram City, Taylor Springs, Butler, Irving, Coffeen, Panama, Donnellson, and other rural areas, in 1954 brought about the creation of an outstanding Community Unit School District. The Community was also supportive in the establishment of Lincoln Land Community College during its formative years and has continued that support through the present with the location of the Hillsboro Branch of the Southern Regional Campus extension of LLCC.
Educational records of the Hillsboro community report that the first educational facility in Montgomery County was established as the Hillsboro Academy in 1837 in Hillsboro. In the 1840's, the Academy became the first Lutheran College in Illinois. Historical reports indicate that “. . . ultimately Illinois State University and Carthage College evolved from this college . . ." when the college was moved to Springfield in 1852.
During 1997, the Hillsboro School District expanded significantly with the annexation of the Witt Unit School District. The Hillsboro District now serves nearly 2,300 students located within a 266 square mile area. A population of over 11,500 residents are located within the school district boundaries located in Montgomery and Bond counties. The school district is strategically located nearly 45 minutes away from Springfield and about an hour from metro St. Louis, Missouri.
The Hillsboro Community School District #3 provides classes for students in grades Pre-kindergarten (ages 3-5) through Grade 12. Nearly 1,147 students are enrolled in Pre-kindergarten through Grade 5; 554 students in Grades 6-8; and nearly 667 students in Grades 9-12. The District provides special education classes, remedial classes, and gifted classes for students.
The District is made up of a Senior High School, Middle (Junior) High School and three Elementary Schools: Beckemeyer, Coffeen, and Witt. The Community High School in Hillsboro is located on 80 acres of land, containing athletic fields, woodlands, four classroom buildings and the transportation maintenance building. The elementary schools are located in residential neighborhoods. Each building has a large (8-13 acres) playground and picnic area. The professional staff of the District includes 145 certified teachers, over 75 support staff and bus drivers, and 9 administrators.
The Hillsboro Community Unit School District enjoys a very good relationship with members of the community. Members of the public are invited to use school facilities such as computer labs and gyms on a regular basis. Members of the public participate in collaboration and planning as our schools continue to provide for our students in the ever-changing world of work. The District works with business partners to provide evenings for open computer classes in the District's computer labs. The District currently operates a nationally-recognized Pre-Kindergarten Program at the Coffeen and Witt Attendance Centers.
The District is currently spending approximately $250,000 each year on technology and technology programs to provide engaged learning activities for students. The District is spending over $70,000 per year in staff development and other staff workshop programs and classes to improve teaching and student learning and achievement. Nearly $1,250,000 in grants from federal and state sources are utilized each year to improve the educational offerings for young people within the school district.
The Hillsboro Community School District community contains a large labor force. Many individuals work in St. Louis, Springfield, Greenville, Vandalia, or Litchfield. The area has a diversified economic base and ranks as an important center for commercial, legal, and industrial activity. Service industries employ 35% of the labor force; manufacturing accounts for 16% of employment for Hillsboro area residents; and retail trade employs 12% of the labor force.
Nineteen major employers within the Hillsboro School District employ 30 or more employees: Hillsboro Community Unit School District #3; ASARCO Company; Graham Correctional Center; Hurst-Rosche Engineers, Inc.; Illinois Power Company and Gas Service Center; Central Illinois Public Service company generating plant; Montgomery County Service Company; Hillsboro Hospital; two health care centers; Hayes Abrasives; National Bank with 9 branch locations in six counties; BankAmerica; Fuller Brothers Construction Company; Caulk Brothers; County of Montgomery; Roger Jennings, Inc.; Mid-State Special Education Cooperative; Hillsboro Journal; Montgomery County News; Discover Health; and a host of smaller distributors and businesses.
Demographics for students within the Hillsboro Community Unit School district in 2003 indicate that 97.4% of its students are white; 1.4% black; 0.1% Native American; 0.3% Asian or Pacific Islander; and 08% Hispanic.
The picturesque campus of the Hillsboro Community High School is a point of pride for residents of Hillsboro. The main building was constructed in 1920-21 on a 21-acre tract of land on the south side of East Tremont Street. The architect, J.W. Kennedy, and contractor Jesse I. Gedney, were both from East St. Louis. Local craftsmen were subcontractors on the project, and the school board engaged James W. Lewis to oversee construction. A new gymnasium was completed in 1939. An agriculture building was added in 1954 and the Library and cafeteria building in 1961.
Lincoln Land Community College offers many course offerings at its Southern Region headquarters in Litchfield with a satellite computer lab in Hillsboro as well as cooperative training ventures with local businesses, including Hillsboro Area Hospital.