Honorable mention 2019
Library eliminates late fees
The rush to get your books and other rented materials back to the library or face a fee penalty ended in 2019.
While people still need to return materials they borrow from the library – and will be charged for “missing materials” if rented items aren’t returned for weeks – being a few days late won’t hurt your wallet, as the library eliminated late fees in 2019.
Library staff successfully argued that eliminating fees took down barriers that often kept people who are more economically disadvantaged from using the library, as some might not have wanted to risk the fees if books didn’t come back in time.
The Fitchburg Public Library joined nearby libraries such as Verona and Middleton, who also do not charge fees for late materials.
Senior Center turns 40
The Fitchburg Senior Center turned 40 this year, after a long history that started with a group of Fitchburg-area farmers who wanted to socialize with one another.
That group later evolved into a town Committee on Aging in 1979, which became the catalyst that transformed the center into the community hub it is today.
While the community center is physically different on its 40th birthday, director Jill McHone said in June its core principles – serving seniors in the ways they need – remain the same.
OSD superintendent to retire
After 11 years leading the district, Oregon School District superintendent Brian Busler, 58, announced in September plans to retire at the end of the year school year. In October, school board members selected deputy superintendent Leslie Bergstrom to succeed him on July 1, 2020.
Likely, Busler’s most notable legacy will be the shepherding of successful referendum drives in 2014 (capital improvements), 2016 (teacher compensation) and 2018 (new school, land), totaling more than $100 million. He leaves with a new elementary school under construction in Fitchburg after a successful 2018 referendum and with voters already aware of plans for a middle school to be built in Fitchburg in the next few years.
“Our district’s future is bright,” he said. “There is much work to be done as we plan to open our fourth elementary school, in the City of Fitchburg.”
OSD school board changes
In September, Oregon School District electors approved a realignment of school board seats to better ensure a more even distribution of students in the school district voting areas.
Area I remains the Village of Oregon with three seats. Area II added the towns of Dunn and Blooming Grove from Area III to the fast-growing City of Fitchburg, increasing its seats from one to two. Area III will add to the Town of Rutland the former Area IV municipalities of the Village of Brooklyn and towns of Oregon, Montrose, Union and Brooklyn, and maintain its two seats.