University of Chicago Medicine Breast Cancer June 2022

Clean sweep for ‘230 United’; Palos 118, Orland 135 voters re-elect incumbents

 

     It was a good night for incumbents in races for High School District 230’s board of education and those of feeder elementary school districts Palos 118 and Orland 135.

District 230

Voters settled things in High School District 230, re-electing Board President Rick Nogal and Vice President Patrick O’Sullivan, and electing Denis Ryan, the third member of their ticket, by a wide margin over four also-rans.

            O’Sullivan led with 8,426 votes, Nogal was in second at 7,180, and Denis Ryan was firmly in third with 6,631, with all 119 precincts reporting. All three ran as a “230 United” team.

            Bringing up the rear of the race was John Thomas Donovan with 5, 217 votes, Mary Ryan Norwell with 3,565 tallies, Frank Ryan with 3,350 votes, and Wesley Boske with 1,240.

Some 13,501 voters cast ballots in the race, for a 13.15 percent turnout, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office.

Donovan ran a high-profile, aggressive campaign that challenged the status quo, charged the current board with lying about district finances and academic performance, as well as sweeping heroin abuse by students under the rug.

            The district, which includes three high schools—Stagg in Palos Hills, Sandburg in Orland Park and Andrew in Tinley Park—is one of the largest in Illinois.

            Nogal said Tuesday night that he sees his slate’s “insurmountable” lead as an endorsement of the current board’s fiscal integrity, commitment to academic excellence and technological advances, and ongoing fight against Senate Bill 1 and other state legislative proposals that would pull resources away from district coffers.

            “All three of us are humbled by the outcome,” Nogal said. “It is a ratification of our credentials, our efforts, and the consistently positive message that we put out there, even in the face of a negative campaign that was against us. Really, this is a community victory.”

            Nogal said that his top priority ahead is to “hit the ground running” in the ongoing fight against SB 1, and that the District 230 board plans to host town hall meetings in the weeks ahead, as they did successfully last fall.

            Donovan did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night. Shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m., he wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page that he remains “grateful for being able to participate in this process, meeting so many people and helping advance much needed dialogue about the road ahead for our schools.”

Palos District 118

A similar situation in Palos School District 118—a slate of three candidates led by two incumbents versus a challenger—saw the slate triumph by a wide margin.

With all 21 precincts reporting, board Secretary MariJo Calacci and board member Nadine Antonini tied with 1,969 votes each, followed by newcomer Pamela Paris with 1,956 tallies. Challenger Michael Baker with 679 votes lost his election bid.

According to the Cook County Clerk’s Office, some 2,570 voters cast ballots in the race, for a 14.13 percent turnout.

“It was a good day for us, no doubt,” Antonini said late Tuesday. “I see the results as an endorsement of what we’ve done on the board. People know that District 118 is one of the best school districts in the state—children come first–and they want to keep it that way.”

Antonini, like Nogal, said that beating back SB 1 is a top priority.

“With the political situation being what it is in Illinois, you really have to prepare and be ready, because anything can come at you at any time,” she said, adding that she plans to once again head to Springfield to meet with key legislators and “make sure that 118’s voice is heard” on SB 1 and other proposals that may pulls resources away from the district or add new burdens to local taxpayers.

She also said she plans to “stay in the faces” of local state legislators, especially those based in Chicago, which would gain resources under SB 1 in its current form.

            Unlike the District 230 race, the battle in District 118 was essentially positive on both sides.

            Baker, who did not respond to a call for comment late Tuesday, posted a conciliatory message on his campaign’s Facebook page.

            “While things didn’t go our way tonight, we’ve enjoyed talking with members of the community over the past several weeks about important challenges and opportunities facing our district,” Baker wrote. “We congratulate the winners…and wish them all the best in their service to our community as members of the board.”

Orland District 135

As was the case in District 230, the race in Orland School District 135 was, among other things, a victory for Orland Park Mayor Daniel McLaughlin’s political machine. All candidates he backed won.

            Board incumbent Tina Zekich, a holdover from the previous board majority, lost her bid for re-election.

            While the race was technically non-partisan, a slate led by President Joseph La Margo, member Gregory Okon and newcomer Angie Sexton swept to victory.

            With all 43 precincts reporting, Sexton led with 3,252 votes, Okon was in second with 2,953 tallies, and La Margo made the cut with 2,888 votes.

            Bringing up the rear was Zekich with 2,036 votes.

According to the Cook County Clerk’s Office, some 4,599 voters cast ballots in the race, for an 11.89 percent turnout.

“It’s a ‘W,’ and that’s what counts,” La Margo said Tuesday night.

He congratulated Zekich for her “fine job serving on the board” but added that the two “didn’t agree on certain fundamental things,” although he did not elaborate.

Zekich portrayed herself to voters as an independent voice on the school board which would be lost if La Margo’s candidate, Sexton were elected.

La Margo addressed the issue Tuesday night. He agreed that the new board will consist entirely of his political allies, but insisted there will be a healthy diversity of thought on the board.

“We don’t and won’t agree on everything, and that’s good,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we will make a unified decision on important matters.”

La Margo said the board plans to move ahead with ongoing initiatives like implementation of all-day kindergarten across the district and fighting SB 1 and its threatened loss of resources.

Zekich did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.


Photo by Jeff Vorva

Color-page-oneDR-Page-5-D-230-copy

John Thomas Donovan shakes hands with voter Mary Ann Hansen, of Palos Park, on Election Day morning at the Palos Park Recreation Center polling place.

Photo by Jeff Vorva

Color-page-oneDR--D230-copy

MariJo Calacci of District 118 and Rick Nogal of District 230 pose at their polling place, Peace Village in Palos Park, on Election Day.

 

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