New party forms as D209 board race comes into focus

Proviso United Party is chaired by a vocal board critic

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

A new political party has formed to take on incumbent Proviso Township High School District 209 board members. Board President Ned Wagner and members Theresa Kelly and Claudia Medina have expressed plans to run for re-election on the Proviso Together slate. 

In April, they could face members of the Proviso United Party, which was created on Oct. 1, according to State Board of Elections records. The party is registered at 7227 W. Madison in Forest Park. The party's financial institution is listed as a Chase Bank in Oak Park. The party had $1,500 in funds available as of Oct. 1. 

Antoinette Gray, a local businesswoman and an outspoken critic of the current board and Supt. Jesse Rodriguez, is listed as the party's chairperson. Ray Williams, of Maywood, is listed as the party's co-chairperson. 

The three candidates listed are Beverly Robertson, a school counselor who works in D200, according to her LinkedIn; and Denard Wade and Laighton Scott — both Maywood firefighters. 

Gray ran against former D209 board president and current state Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch (7th) in 2014, but was removed from the ballot after a residency challenge. 

She was a staunch supporter of Proviso Together during the 2015 elections, but after the party achieved a 7-person supermajority in the wake of the elections, Gray has gradually become a vocal critic of the board. 

In the summer, for instance, Gray was outspoken against the board's decision to hire Anthony Brazouski, the district's assistant superintendent of human resources. She also opposed the board approving a 5-year contract for Supt. Rodriguez.

Gray could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

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