Closure of DLR confirmed with second vote


OREGON – The Oregon Community Unit School District 220 board confirmed at its Feb. 22 meeting that David L. Rahn Junior High School in Mount Morris will be closed at the end of this school year.

The board reached the same 5-2 vote that it did when it initially called for the closing of DLR at its Aug. 16, 2021, meeting.

Rob Urish, a former board member in the Mount Morris and Oregon school districts and a strong proponent of keeping DLR open, said the decision, “hurts deeply.”

“Notwithstanding all of the data, all of the information … all of the research which have been presented to the board and, to the best of our ability, transparently to the public, and including last night the unsolicited, heart-rending testimony of a 13-year-old DLR student and that of a father from another family, plus the passage of August, September, October, November, December, January and most of February …  time during which board members could think and study – not one single vote has changed,” he said in a written statement.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Mahoney recommended to the school board at a meeting in May 2021 that the district consider closing DLR. He said that the decision to recommend closing the school came down to money, with the district spending more than it is taking in. He also said the school needs fixes that would cost between $2 million and $6 million.

Urish and others said there the district’s financial performance was on the upswing, so that was not a reason to close DLR. But the morning after the vote, Mahoney said the closure will help in that area.

“As I have stated all along, with the closure of DLR, the addition of the CARES monies, and the increased EAV will be able to address any financial issues,” he said. “The board's policy on fund reserve calls for the district to have 50% of the operating budget in reserve. At this time, we are $2.2 million dollars short of that policy requirement. Additionally, the additional revenue will allow us to make necessary purchases for instructional material, professional development and provide adequate funding for student activities.”

Planning is underway for the closure of DLR and the move of students to OHS in the fall. Information about the move can be found All of that information can be found at on the district’s Website. Roughly 200 students and their teachers will be moved to OHS.

After a long, hard battle, Urish said he is concerned about how this decision will affect the relationship between the two communities.

“My reaction, shared by so many others, will be called ‘sour grapes’ and perhaps it is,” he said. “But deep in my heart, I am convinced, certain, that it will take the passage of several generations, certainly mine, before the unnecessary damage that is perceived to have been done to the community of Mt. Morris, and even more so to the relationship of the two communities, will be healed, if ever.”