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POLL: Should Parents Try to Stop Mary Drew Closure in the 11th Hour?

Tuesday's re-vote over closing the elementary school has given some parents and residents cause to try to make a final attempt to save Mary Drew. But is that the right thing to do? Tell us what you think.

Tuesday's re-vote by the Summit Hill School District 161 board to close for the 2012-13 school year might be a formality. But it hasn't stopped parents from trying to persuade the board to reverse course.

that the board didn't sufficiently notify the public that it would be taking action to close Mary Drew at its Feb. 22 meeting. The closing was included under the "Planning for the Future" agenda item at last week's meeting, .

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Parents and other district residents, however, are looking at this meeting as a final opportunity to save the school from closing. Over the weekend, parents took to online forums such as Facebook to mobilize people to attend Tuesday's morning and tell board members they want Mary Drew to stay open. A petition started by Kelly Meister asks board members to increase registration and extracurricular fees and charge for busing instead of closing a school.

But is it a good idea to try to save Mary Drew Elementary School? The district faces a $3 million deficit over the next three years, and the board is looking to cut $1.4 million from the budget this year. Board members already voted to keep the district's full-day kindergarten program, and they're quickly running out of places to make substantial cuts.

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However, many parents argue that closing Mary Drew--or any school, for that matter--isn't the answer. More research needs to be done and, in the meantime, cuts can be made in other areas.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section.

its my $$ 2 February 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM
It is appaulling as an adult, and parent that this community lead by a few selfish individuals is causing this much damage in moving this district forward. These kinds of situations are happening in EVERY school district in this state. With any one of our school closings there will still not be one student in our district that will go without the proper instruction, discipline and guidance. Its a 'building' people, and there is a huge money problem that has to be addressed because the State of Illinois is not going to help us and neither are the parents of any of these schools once there child moves on. Shame on you all! Do the right thing for ALL the children coming through the system now and in the future not what you want just for your child.
Stella Nyder February 28, 2012 at 01:36 PM
praying for the Board and our district for this special meeting for God's will and for His glory!
communitytaxpayer February 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
It is our right as taxpayers to know what is going on with our district's finances. The board should be able to supply us with the numbers to back up these debts and cuts before making all these decisions. When looking at your individual budget, do you cut out your spending for gas/food before looking at the big picture? We deserve to know the details as parents, members of the community and taxpayers.
Donny February 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I'm really looking forward to the reaction when the board presents all the details, graphs, pictures, numbers, and words that everyone is demanding for proof.......and keep MD closed. Think these select community members are going to say "Oh ok, thanks for showing us the proof" and be content? Doubtful...the angry mob will continue.
communitytaxpayer February 28, 2012 at 03:15 PM
The objective is not to be "content" here, it's our right to be able to see these details. If the outcome means closing a school, then so be it, but we deserve to ask for these details and the board should supply them. It is very suspicious that they haven't shown any data to support all of this, and now these "dismissed" board members are nowhere to be found? Every taxpayer has the right to know what is happening with the funding. If we don't ask, then shame on us.
workingtogether February 28, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I just wish I would stop seeing a call to not close schools in the future b/c of the "ripple" effect it will cause. What will this ripple effect be when programs, teachers and specialist are cut? I wish the community would just call for a stay of execution on the closing of MD to research the best school or schools to close and to do it at the same time next year. Honestly, this is the only way I think you will really get the board to listen anyway. The BOE is already on the defense b/c they are ready for the community to be on fire tonight. We should be presenting them with viable options and not closing a school ever, is not one. Keeping all schools open is only an option if the district cuts other areas big time and even then it may still mean one goes. That means activities for our children, reading specialist, more teachers than we would lose with a closing, FDK etc. The ripple effect of closing a school will be much less severe than the alternative. Again, we should be asking the board to hold off on the closing until next year to have all their ducks in a row before making a decision this large. I am just saddened by the amount of online posts about how the district should be cutting important things like activities and educational programs just to keep schools open. I am all for keeping MD open because of the renovations, but 1 or 2 schools must go if we want to keep our high academic standards in place.
Frustrated February 28, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I would. If they can justify the school closing, I would stand down. But all that they do share is misleading information. It's not the closing of MD that we are upset about. It was the process for which they decided to go about it -- trying to sneak it in the agenda, throwing it out there so that it was an obvious surprise to a few of the board members and even when asked by fellow board members for the basis of Drew and not other schools, not being able to come up with any answers. I have been to all of these meetings and then some and have contacted a few board members and the superintendent and I still have yet to get definitive answer from anyone. If the information is out there, why hasn't it been disclosed? If the board members had it in front of them during the vote, why wasn't it shared?
Tracy February 28, 2012 at 05:05 PM
If we don't question now, every decision moving forward will be decided the way MD was - rushed. Truth, probably 2 schools need to go, but hey, guess what, there is a process to follow and you need to tell people why. Asking why and challenging where is the data is something that should not be attacked, but actually what everyone should be asking of this board. And again, you will see teachers, programs and specialists STILL cut, because MD closing isn't enough. Unless people want every vote as a sneak attack, otherwise, let the board share their a plan and proposal. Let them provide the motive to their actions. We all get it - schools will close. What many don't like is a board argueing and bam, seconds later a vote happens, and we the parents are all wondering what just happened here... This board needs to slow down, Rains too, create a proposal and share a plan, then make sound decisions, that yes, will be painful, but make sense when everything is considered. I don't want further cuts made the way MD was decided upon, too impulsive, way too impulsive.
Tracy February 28, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I would too. I want what makes sense to be done, not what's rushed. There is no happy situation here, and there never will be. I can ask everyone here 'What does the sky look like today?' and every single person will have a different answer. The truth, this meeting is simply to cover themselves for the last meeting of voting and not having it on the agenda. I highly doubt it will change anything, the board has no plan or details to share, because there were none then, and I'm sure still none now. And Donny, I'm bringing snowcaps, save me some popcorn.
DIst 161 Parent February 28, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I agree with my $ too, difficult decisions need to be made not drawn out. We need to work together.
Tracy February 29, 2012 at 04:17 AM
It's not about a school just closing, or which school, it's about a board doing as they please. Thank you to those who spoke. When every vote to come happens this way, more will see, and I wont bother saying I told you so... Now the fight for buses, activities, programs and teachers begins. As well as AH... if there is a second school to close, it was apparent it will be AH next, due to zoning and lease availability. No data. No school comparison is complete. Hopes of leasing, not to 843, they signed with New Lenox already. It opens up tax fees if not the right tennant. And now, who will they be allowing into my neighborhood if they do lease. The fight was the board voting as they please, listening to no one. Tonight was an admit of guilt on Kenny. She and Rains even admitted they consulted a lawyer about the sneaky vague agenda. These people are in charge of my children... great. Oh, I wont say I told you so...
MagtheHag February 29, 2012 at 04:31 AM
"why doesn't the board let us know of financial problems" "it's a board doing as they please." "If they can justify the closing, I will stand down". Please, your board has meeting every month some even twice a month and release all this information for all to see. YOU all voted in this board to speak for you and now they have you are not happy. I'm sure this school closing and money being insufficient is not new news to your board. Someone has to make these tough decisions and it looks as if they made one they believe is in the best interest of their district. It seems as if it was everyone else's problem until it effected your school. Next time maybe, you will pay attention to where YOUR money is being spent.
Tracy February 29, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Well, you weren't at the meeting obviously, because was the first time anyone heard stats to why which school was give tonight, and actually surprised many, and at least was info to embrace and support. The finance guy even stated the figures weren't / aren't done. So, think what you like on them sharing info - because it isn't happening. Kenny even admitted herself, while dragging in Rains, that the two of them consulted a lawyer prior to last weeks meeting regarding if they have to disclose it on the agenda, which, what a sucky lawyer to advise them it would be ok not to. Feel free to like the board, I didn't vote them all in, one was appointed. Nah! Keep this same attitude for the rest of the tough decisions is all I'm saying, nothing ended tonight except MD. Funny, I heard the word Hag used a few times tonight... wasn't referencing you though... Glad you are ok with a sneaky, secretive board.
taxpayer February 29, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Not as soft as I would have put it, but so true. None of this is a shock to me, and I encourage people to attend meetings now that they FINALLY have the community attention. There was barely a rumble when the approved a pay raise and contract extention for Keith Pain. I am willing to bet not even 50% of people voted at the last board election.
sensible February 29, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Tracy if you had been going to each meeting you would be aware that there is no sneaking going on. Since Doyle changed his vote at the very last minute to keep FDK for the next year the board the said "Then we need to put closing 1-2 schools back on the agenda for the next meeting" and if you go to the pod cast that may be an exact quote! So I knew this was happening where were you? Please pay attention!
Tracy March 01, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Well, reality is it was never off the table, and neither is a second school, or programs or busing or activities... it's just begining. I'm on the blogfs and pod casts when not at meetings, feel free to sit by me at the next one. Still doesn't change that the board snuck it on the agenda, vote wise, and that guilt was acknowledged.

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