For each incumbent looking to win another term on the District 209 school board, there is a challenger calling for change.
In Forest Park’s K-8 District 91, however, four incumbents who voted in favor of a controversial restructuring plan will run for re-election unopposed.
The filing period for the coming local elections ended Monday, Jan. 26, and in each district there is a majority of seats – four of seven – up for election. The candidates will square off April 7 for the right to serve four-year terms on the Proviso Township District 209 Board of Education and the District 91 Board of Education, respectively.
In District 209, four sitting board members who’ve moved almost in lockstep with one another will ask voters to return them for another term. President Chris Welch, vice president Dan Adams, board secretary Sue Henry and Brian Cross are all seeking re-election.
Challenging the incumbents are five township residents whose experience in education – and with District 209 – varies. A former teacher with the district, Della Patterson, joins Kevin McDermott, Carlos Anderson, Rebecca Smith and Maria DeSena on the ballot.
Though District 209 serves 10 communities in Proviso Township, board members are elected to serve at-large. This means that to win a seat on the board, they must carry enough of the total number of votes cast in all 10 communities. Also, candidates do not run against one another in head-to-head contests. The top four vote-getters win the election.
Welch and Adams have served on the high school board together since 2001. In 2005, Henry joined the board while Welch and Adams were successful in their bids for re-election.
Patterson ran for a school board seat in 2005 but did not win. In 2007, McDermott finished fourth in a 10-way race for three seats.
This month, McDermott said he was one of several township residents considering whether to file a lawsuit that would attempt to recover taxpayer money he says has been spent inappropriately on legal bills accrued by Welch, the sitting board president. So far, those bills total almost $58,000.