The certified results for the Proviso Township High School District 209 April 4 election are in and Jennifer Barbahen has officially won the third and final seat on the board of education, ending the over 20-year reign of incumbent Theresa Kelly.
Barbahen will join her fellow Proviso 209 United slate mates, David Ocampo and Sandra Hixson on the school board. If, as anticipated, that slate aligns with incumbent Amanda Grant, it would create a new working majority on what has been a divided board.
According to the certified results released on April 25, Barbahen received 4,811 votes to Kelly’s 4,799 votes, taking the seat by 12 votes, a .03% margin.
Barbahen declined to provide a comment on the win, saying she is not making any personal statements at this time. Theresa Kelly was not able to be reached for comment.
The race between the candidates had been too close to call after the unofficial results from Election Night, which had put Kelly in the lead, with 4,619 votes to Barbahen’s 4,539 votes, a difference of 80 votes. However, as mail-in votes were added, Barbahen moved closer to that third seat, flipping the results to her favor by April 10 when she took a 9-vote lead over Kelly.
On Election Night Ocampo and Hixson won seats outright. Ocampo received 5,975 votes, 18.50%, coming in first place and Hixson came in second, receiving 5,397 votes, 16.71%.
“We are so grateful to the voters of the Proviso community for giving our team a chance to create positive change for our schools and community,” read a statement from the Proviso 209 United slate posted to their Facebook page, adding they have talked about creating systemic change and are ready to begin doing the work. “It’s not a change that happens overnight. It’s a process that needs participation and commitment from board members as well as our communities. This is only just the beginning of our journey together.”