Monday, May 28, 2012
Mary Drew Elementary School will close at the end of this month, but parents, teachers, staff and students can share their stories, photos and videos about what made the school so special.
In less than a week, Mary Drew Elementary School will close its doors after four years, a casualty of declining enrollment and district budget cuts. The decision to close Mary Drew was an emotional one for everyone involved—parents, teachers, staff, administrators. It's a testament to the kind of education students received at Mary Drew that so many people worked to try to keep it open. READ: Go to Our Section on Mary Drew's Closing for Details on the Decision After May 29, students and teachers will be going to different schools, but that doesn't mean they have to forget the good times they had at Mary Drew. This page is designed for members of the Summit Hill School District 161 community to share their memories of the school and what it…
Thursday, May 24, 2012
The Summit Hill Junior High band performed outside before the meeting, then administrators and teachers praised select students for their hard work and accomplishments.
With the end of the school year around the corner for Summit Hill School District 161, it was only appropriate that much of Wednesday night's meeting—the last before school's out for summer—was about celebrating the efforts and achievements of district students. The evening began with an outdoor performance in front of the district's administrative offices by the Summit Hill Junior High School band before the start of the meeting. Once the meeting was under way, principals and teachers from each school recognized their exemplary students in an emotional ceremony. Finally, the Summit Hill track team, which placed third at the state meet, and winners at the various levels of the district, regional and state science fairs. READ: Amended D161 …
Monday, May 14, 2012
The budget shortfall for Summit Hill School District 161 went from $2.1 million to $1.7 million thanks in large part to some unexpected revenue.
Much of the discussion this year about the finances for Summit Hill School District 161 has not been positive. It's revolved around budget cuts that included school closings, staff dismissals and school fees. That's why it was welcome news last week that the amended D161 budget for the 2012 fiscal year was to have a $1.7 million deficit, down from an originally forecasted $2.1 million. That savings comes thanks to accurate projected spending and an almost 2-percent increase in projected revenue, said Dean Gerdes, the district's finance director. READ: D161 Board Hires New Finance and Special Ed. Directors Much of the district's added windfall came from a refund—about $350,000—by the Lincoln-Way Special Education District 843, Gerdes said. …
Friday, May 11, 2012
Plus: New Johnson Controls contract saves Summit Hill school district $40K. Read the blog from Wednesday night's meeting for more details.
Summit Hill School District 161 has new finance and special education directors as the board of education hired two veteran administrators from Plainfield's school district during Wednesday's meeting at Frankfort Square Elementary School. Susan Krautstrunk was hired as director of finance and transportation, taking over for Dean Gerdes, who is resigning from the post at the end of June. Bridget Nolan follows Julie Egan as the district's special education director. In March, Egan agreed to be the new supervisor for Lincoln-Way Area Special Education District 843. Krautstrunk and Nolan begin work July 1. Current position: Director of finance, Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202, since 2010 Background: Krautstrunk has been …
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Patch asks readers to share their solutions on what the Summit Hill school district's board of education can do to rebuild the confidence that has been lost among many community members.
Spend time with a group of parents from Summit Hill School District 161 parents, and you'll hear a familiar refrain if the topic of the district's board of education comes up. "I just can't trust the board anymore." Sometimes it's expressed with seething disdain. Other times it comes out as abject disappointment. But in every case, that sentiment is accompanied by an overwhelming concern for the future of the district and the students in it. READ: Board Runs Afoul of State's Open Meetings Act Again The roots of this distrust stem from the board's recent efforts to eliminate a more than $3 million deficit over the next three years. Although not necessarily agreeing with board members' decisions concerning full-day kindergarten and closing …
Sunday, March 4, 2012
You know how the vote turned out concerning the elementary school, but do you know why certain board members support that? Or how district residents have responded? Find out with this wrap up of what went down.
Last week marked a major turning point for Summit Hill School District 161 parents and community as the board of education voted to close down Mary Drew Elementary School in order to dig out of a more than $3 million defecit over the next three years. NEWSLETTER: Get Your D161 and Other Local Stories Delivered to Your Inbox That decision has rippled through the district, upseting parents who feel the board didn't have enough concrete information to close a school. But how did things get to this point? And how have district residents responded? Go back and read Patch's comprehensive coverage of the financial tumult D161 faces. You can check out the individual stories linked here or go to the Patch Topic Pages for the Mary Drew closing and …
Friday, March 2, 2012
In a symbolic gesture, community members from the Summit Hill school district came out Thursday to the Cooks Night Off event run by the elementary's school community organization.
The last time Summit Hill School District 161 parents came to show support for Mary Drew Elementary School--at Tuesday's special meeting where the board of education voted to close the school starting in 2012-13--the atmosphere was loud, heated and contentious. That was in stark contrast to the mood at Thursday's Cooks Night Off at Wendy's in Tinley Park where district parents and community members came together for the Mary Drew School Community Organization fundraiser. READ: Board Votes Again; Mary Drew to Close Next School Year The event, which is held the first Thursday of every month, raises money for the Mary Drew SCO, which uses it to fund student parties, assemblies and other activities. The wrinkle this Thursday was that many of …
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
It was standing-room only at the Summit Hill school district offices as the board re-voted to close the elementary, 4-3, during a special meeting Tuesday. Read the transcript of the live blog for the details.
- Joe Vince
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
In a 4-3 vote, the board of education for Summit Hill School District 161 approved Tuesday at a special meeting the closing of Mary Drew Elementary School this fall despite the public outcry from close to 250 parents and community members to keep it open and calls for board President Mary Kenny to resign. Kenny, along with board Vice President Joy Murphy, board Secretary Denise Lenz and board member Denise Wildeveld, voted to close Mary Drew. Board members George Perros, Sean William Doyle and Stacey Borgens voted to keep the school opening. Throughout the meeting, members of the public voiced their displeasure, yelling and shouting at board members. On more than one occassion, Kenny used her gavel to try to bring order back to the …
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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 Mary Drew Elementary School 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. The board scheduled a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the district offices to vote again on the closing after a community member filed a grievance Friday 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, where board members voted to shutter the school next school year. READ: Board Will Vote Again to Close Mary Drew Parents and other…
Friday, February 24, 2012
Find out what Summit Hill D161 residents had to say about the board's decision to shutter the school.
The closing of Mary Drew Elementary School had parents and residents of Summit Hill School District 161 reacted Thursday to the news. Patch spoke with some of them and compiled comments from the story about the board's decision to shutter the school. Tony Pietrzak, two children attending Mary Drew Tony Pietrzak said Thursday he was organizing a group of parents that would petition the board to reconsider its decision on cutting full-day kindergarten, as well as hiring an outside consulting firm to develop the best financial plan for dealing with the district's $3 million projected deficit over three years. Pietrzak, who has two children that attend Mary Drew, also applied for the open board position recently filled by Denise Wildeveld. …