Top Burr Ridge headlines of 2012
District 180 teacher Holly VanHowe picket and pass out flyers outside Anne M Jeans Elementary School as people arrive for a musical, Friday Apri 20, 2012. | James C. Svehla~for Sun-Times Media
Top 5 viewed stories on web
1. Burr Ridge Middle School captures basketball championship
2. Memories of the late Kelli O’Laughlin still appear around town
3. Lyons Township school trsutees president resigns
4. Maloney appointed new Hinsdale South athletic director
5. Burr Ridge student dies in crash
- Sour note
- District 180 board makes its final contract offer
- Burr Ridge District 180 teachers strike a deal
- Burr Ridge implements restaurant tax
- Dining tax dollars go to work in marketing campaign in Burr Ridge
- Voters give green light to Gower improvements
- DuPage voters reject dual offices
- Burr Ridge mayor to take seat as county commissioner
- Burr Ridge has new acting mayor
Updated: February 25, 2013 2:22AM
BURR RIDGE — Burr Ridge hit taxpayers this year, with a teachers’ contract, school referendum and restaurant tax. While there were many great events in 2012, these monetary issues dominated the year.
1. District 180 teachers work year without contract
Months of negotiations and a threat to strike ended when teachers in Burr Ridge Elementary District 180 and the School Board struck a deal for a new contract, more than one year after the previous contract ended.
The 58 members of the Teachers Organization of Palisades, which include teachers at Anne M. Jeans and Burr Ridge middle schools, worked the entire 2011-12 school year without a contract. Arguing over salaries and the length of the school day, the teachers filed a notice of intent to strike in March but never took to the picket line.
Teachers did, however, carry picket signs outside the schools and post signs in their cars showing their desire to reach a deal. That deal was finally reached in August, days after the 2012-13 school year began.
In the end the district’s 50-some teachers accepted a 3.75 percent raise each year for the length of the 2011-2015 contract. The increase includes a 1.25 percent base salary hike and a 2.5 percent step increase, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2011.
Teachers also agreed to the board’s desire to lengthen the school day at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School by 20 minutes to match the length of the day at Burr Ridge Middle School. That change will go into effect at the start of 2013-14 school year.
“We are very excited that in the end, compromise worked out,” said Lynn Moynihan, president of the teachers bargaining unit, the Teachers of Palisades.
School Board President Paula Dupont said the contract “maintains a sound fiscal outlook,” and most importantly, it serves the children of District 180.
“That has been our focus all along,” she said.
2. Gower voters OK cash for improvements
Voters agreed in February to a referendum that will put $9 million toward improvements to Gower West and Gower Middle schools.
Voters in Gower District 62 were asked to allow the district to issue $9 million worth of bonds, maintaining their current tax rate. Without approval of the referendum, the district’s rate would have dropped when a 2004 bond issue ends in 2013.
Instead, the district will continue to collect taxes as if the bond issue was still active, providing money for such improvements as a new gymnasium at Gower Middle, work on which is set to begin this summer.
3. Restaurant tax brings in extra dollars
Diners in Burr Ridge started paying a little more for dinner out when a local places-of-eating tax went into effect in May.
The 1 percent tax, charged at all places where food is purchased and consumed, added up to more than $128,000 for the village in the first six months.
Twenty-five percent of money generated from the tax will be used to market the village’s growing restaurant business, a step toward the village’s goal to become a dining destination.
4. MAYOR STEPS DOWN
Gary Grasso, mayor of Burr Ridge since 2005, resigned his position in December, shortly after accepting a seat on the DuPage County Board. Grasso had intended to keep both elected jobs, but members of the Village Board disagreed with that plan, saying they feared a conflict of interest could arise. DuPage voters seemed to agree. In a November advisory referendum, 90 percent of voters said elected officials should not be allowed to hold multiple positions simultaneously.
5. HCA CALLS IT QUITS
Hinsdale Center for the Arts, which offered classes and programming to residents of Burr Ridge and many other communities, abruptly closed its doors this summer. Jan Tuthill, secretary of the non-profit organization’s Board of Trustees, said the decision was not as sudden as it seemed.
“We’ve been having financial woes for awhile,” said Tuthill, after the center, which was established in 1980, ceased operations July 20.
The recession caused the center, located in Katherine Legge Memorial Park, at 5903 S. County Line Road, to lose the grants and sponsorships it relied on for revenue, and low enrollment in summer programs broke the shoestring budget on which it survived.