LIVE BLOG: D161 Board Votes Again; Mary Drew School to Close in 2012-13

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.

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 meeting.

that the board didn't sufficiently notify the public that it would be taking action to close Mary Drew at its Feb. 22 meeting. 

Check back later Wednesday for an updated article. Read the transcript from the live blog for details from Tuesday night's meeting.

Need a refresher on what's at stake? Check out Patch's complete coverage of the closing and the district's budget issues:

taxpayer March 02, 2012 at 01:52 AM
You're so correct Rose. I wish there was a way for the community who are just now paying attention to see all the good Mary has done. Her heart and soul has gone into our schools and she is a huge reason why our district has been so desirable by many. The only reason why the community knows what is going on is because Barb has opened that line of communication. If Keith were in charge right now, the only email the parents of MD would get would be what their new school is for next year. This is a stressful time for everyone involved in 161. OH and I am sure Mr. Pain is reading and commenting..............if not him, definately Sean Doyle.
Metro March 06, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Taxpayer, I agree with you that it is time for Mary Kenny to go but, I disagree that she has been a voice of reason. Who do you think has been approving all of the decisions that have created the school district's perfect storm? Somehow she always comes off to the unsuspecting, as an innocent bystander, just out to help the little guy. Kenny places blame on everyone else when things go wrong but the situation that SD 161 is in, did not happen overnight and Kenny has been the one constant approving all the decisions that lead up to this current train wreck(30 years). A new group of parents come in and get a front row seat for the circus. A circus that has been running for many, many years. The performers and names may change but Mary Kenny has always been there. I wish people would stop buying her act and wake up. She is the ring master.
Metro March 06, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Tracy, I'm sorry you are going through this, I'll be praying for your daughter and your family. This small time politics gets ugly and will suck up your time, energy and focus and will most likely generate little results. My advice would be to focus on positive energy for your family and you won't get that when dealing with school board. Stay strong and positive.
taxpayer March 06, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Thank you metro for your comment. Although I am not new to sitting at board meetings or following along, obviously I wasn't living here 30 years ago. Lets be honest, not 30, 20 or even 10 years ago could we predict what the economy would do. This plays a big role in our state of affairs. When we the tax payers (those that bothered to pay attention) argued that we didn't want to see Keith Pain's contract extended or a pay increase, Mary was there to say no. Dee and Sean were there to say yes. Mary is one voice, she can't pass anything on her own. All I am saying is that obviously Mary and others have done some great things. We have a great school district. I will give credit to all board members, past and present when deserved. But honestly, Sean was Board president under Keith Pain administration. Sean nor Pain cared what the community wanted. I agree, this didn't happen over night. Since Mary Kenny is being nailed to the cross for her actions while being Board President for the short time she has held that position, why isnt Sean Doyle being held accountable for his actions for the years he held the Board President position? People tend to remember recent actions and forget past actions. If Mary was doing such a bad job on the Board, then we need to ask why she has been there so long. I think the answer is because she has done some great things for our district that the community is forgetting about.
Rose C March 07, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Metro, I agree this district has gone through many things - good and bad - over the past 30 years. But I have to agree with taxpayer, you need to check your facts before you attack Mrs. Kenny. She has spent years fighting for the entire district in situations that were not popular and when in the minority - she was completely ignored many times. I'm not setting her up for saint hood however, before you persecute her you need to do your homework. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in this community who has given so much of herself to this community - and now she is being thrown under the bus by people like you Metro, who don't have all the facts.


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