Friday, April 12, 2013
Summit Hill School Dist. 161 gave veteran member Mary Kenny a fond farewell and learned updates on plans to prepare 6th graders for junior high.
Before the regular meeting started, Board President Mary Kenny was surprised with a farewell program, honoring her nearly 30 years of commitment to the Summit Hill Dist. 161 Board of Education. A video presentation filled with accolades and fond memories from the district along with a band presentation preceded the April 10 meeting at Summit Hill Jr. High School. After a break for cake and camaraderie, the board members heard a presentation about next year's changes at Walker Intermediate School. Beginning in August, 6th graders at Walker School will get a taste of junior high by switching classes during the day. Principal Mike Ruffalo and Asst. Principal Dana Wright showed a PowerPoint about plans to prep 6th graders for junior high. …
Friday, March 29, 2013
The potential for a costly lawsuit plays a significant role in renewing for one year the contract of Summit Hill Dist. 161 Supt. Barb Rains.
Three abstentions and a $15K cut in salary is evidence that the Summit Hill School Dist. 161 Board of Education was divided over a decision to renew for one year the contract for Supt. Barb Rains. Her current contract covered the period between Dec. 14, 2011 and June 3 0, 2013. The final vote for the renewal of Supt. Barb Rains' contract by the Dist. 161 Board of Education—four "yes" votes to three abstentions along with a $15,000 salary cut—was hardly a vote of confidence for the superintendent. Abstaining were Denise Wildeveld, Board President Mary Kenny and Vice President Joy Murphy. It was a contentious meeting March 27 at Mokena's Arbury Hills School, where several parents, some of whom were members of Rains' advisory committee, …
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Patch recently caught up with Summit Hill School District's four outgoing board members to discuss their time with the district and why they're not running for another term.
Mary Kenny has been a member of the Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education for so many years that she’s lost count—she guesses it’s somewhere between 25 and 30. In the late 1970s, Kenny canvassed residential construction sites in the area, talking to families who were building their homes in the district, to create support for the construction of Indian Trail Elementary School. She was the president of the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education District 843 Board of Education for more than ten years and she is currently president of the Summit Hill board. During her time with District 161, enrollment has grown from approximately 1,200 students to 3,400 students. For the first time in decades, Kenny’s name will not appear on the …
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The board is currently in the process of addressing the specifics of board policy compliance and legal fees from the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education member Sean William Doyle stated at a board meeting on Oct. 24 that vice president Joy Murphy was in contact with the board attorney on 14 separate occasions between July 2011 and June 2012, none of which were in compliance with board policy. However, in a follow-up interview with Murphy, who was not in attendance at last Wednesday’s board meeting, the vice president said her contact with the board attorney occurred when she was temporarily performing the duties of board president Mary Kenny. According to Murphy, Kenny was on medical leave during Spring 2012 and out of town several times through out the year. In each of these instances, Murphy took on the role of board president in Kenny’s…
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 …
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Summit Hill school district takes the first step in creating a financial plan to cut about $3 million over three years. This direction emphasizes an array of cuts but will not close schools or put a referendum on this November's ballot.
Throughout the months long process of planning the financial future for Summit Hill School District 161, board of education members have made it known that the district faces difficult challenges, but that's why they were elected: To make the tough decisions. And Saturday's workshop underscored just how tough those decisions are as members passionately debated cuts before deciding to adopt a proposed streamlining model that focuses on cost-cutting for the 2012-13 budget. READ: Board Ready to Decide D161 Budget Fate That model, which was introduced at the board's Jan. 26 meeting, would shave a little more than $1 million in 2012-13 as part of the first step in a three-year plan to cut $3 million from the district budget. Here are some of …
Friday, February 3, 2012
The Summit Hill school board will meet Saturday morning for a workshop to discuss the financial direction the district needs to take to help eliminate a $2.5 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year.
The anticipation has been building since late last year for Summit Hill School District 161 parents: What will the district do about a $2.5 million deficit for the 2012-13 school year? It looks like that question will be answered at a school board workshop at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at the district's administration offices. What do you need to know going into the meeting? Patch breaks it down for you. This is where the board will discuss three proposals to deal with next school year's shortfall. The intent is to set up a three-year financial strategy for the district going forward. Yes. The workshop is open to the public. In fact, Frankfort Patch local editor Joe Vince will be live blogging from the meeting to allow readers to follow …
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wildeveld, who served on the Summit Hill school board from 1999 to 2007, says her main priority will be to help find a creative solution to the district's more than $2 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year.
Denise Wildeveld has been chosen by the Summit Hill School District 161 board to fill that body's open seat. Board members will vote to officially appoint Wildeveld at next Wednesday's regular meeting. She will then be sworn in, filling the seat recently vacated by Dee Molinare, who resigned from the board after taking a seat on the Lincoln-Way High School District 210 board. Wildeveld was elected to two terms on the D161 board, serving from 1999 to 2007. During that time, she served as the board's secretary, worked on several committees and was involved in passing two referendums. Wildeveld has lived in the district for 20 years, and although her son and daughter are in college and high school, respectively, they both attended D161 …
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The Summit Hill school board begins the process to hire a new superintendent at Wednesday's meeting. And the board president already has her eye on the ideal candidate for the job.
Since Keith Pain's unexpected retirement in late May, Summit Hill School District 161 has been without a permanent superintendent. The district's school board will start the process to change that when the members discuss at Wednesday's meeting at Dr. Julian Rogus School how to proceed with a candidate search and the eventual hiring of the position. The district has been gathering input from parents surveys at recent school teacher conferences about what they want in a new superintendent, said D161 Board President Mary Kenny. The board will take those recommendations Wednesday and decide whether to have a town hall meeting to let other members of the district community--including teachers and administrators--voice their opinions on the …
Monday, October 17, 2011
Summit Hill School District's board president wants to ask parents how they feel about a uniform policy. Do you think such a policy would be a good idea?
School uniforms isn't a new topic of discussion for schools. But it's a rare thing for students to intiate the conversation. At last week's meeting, Summit Hill School District 161 Board President Mary Kenny asked for a question about school uniforms be added to an upcoming parents survey. The impetus for this, she said, came after a Hlida Walker School student told Kenny and Interim Superintendint Barb Rains that uniforms would be a good thing. READ: Which L-W Feeder District Spent the Most Teaching Each Student in '08-'09? "She said, 'Can we please have school uniforms? I am so tired of people criticizing other people because of the clothing they're wearing,' " Kenny said. "So I feel that it's a very valid question to be put on (the …