Mary Win Connor

The District 91 school board will see some fresh faces next April as three incumbents declined to run and six candidates submitted petitions for four open seats.

The board’s four women, Mary Turek, Mary Win Connor, Lois Bugajsky and Joan White were all up for re-election, but Turek, Bugajsky and White declined to turn in petitions by Wednesday’s deadline.

Connor, who has served on the board for six years, is the only incumbent who chose to run again. She will also be the only woman on the new board if she wins. Her husband, lawyer Eric Connor is also running.

“[Eric] goes to all the board conferences with me,” Connor said. “[The board] is a lot of work with no pay and no glory, but we both agree that we want to make the schools the best for our kids because that’s who we’re handing our world off to.” Eric Connor ran unsuccessfully for village council in April 2011.

The other four candidates running for the school board are Forest Park Police Housing Officer Michael O’Connor, Rafael Rosa (a former board member), Brian Moritz (husband of Village Clerk Vanessa), and attorney Thomas Bradley Keefner.

Village Commissioner Tom Mannix submitted the petitions on behalf of Moritz, Keefner and O’Connor on Dec. 26 at the D91 administrative offices.

“I was able to arrange my schedule to help people the day after Christmas to file stuff,” Mannix said.

Candidate Keefner, a lawyer for the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office is an old friend and former roommate, said Mannix. “I’ve known him for 15 years,” Mannix said.

With six candidates in what has been a traditionally amicable school board with few contested races, it remains to be seen if petition challenges will be filed.

Mannix, however, reportedly asked for copies of petitions filed by other candidates.

In December of 2010, Mannix’s mother, Forest Parker Elsie Radtke, challenged the petitions of three of the 11 candidates in the April, 2011 village council race.

At the time, she told the Review, she was challenging on her own behalf, not for her son’s campaign.

“I don’t want us to become complacent with business as usual and less than adequate people up on that board,” she said in 2010.

In the 2011 race, candidate Connie Custardo was deemed ineligible to appear on the ballot because she failed to correctly bind her petition paperwork, explicitly state the office she was running for, and number the signatures she collected. A week later, Jon Kubricht, owner of Da Beads jewelry store in Chicago, was kicked off the ballot because he allegedly violated the election code by turning in paperwork in a manila envelope. Commissioner Rory Hoskins, who was also challenged by Radtke, remained on the ballot and won re-election.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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