Two incumbents and one challenger captured three 4-year board seats on Warren District 121 in Tuesday's election, according to unofficial results. With all 49 precincts counted, newcomer Barb Conway led the six-candidate pack with 2,364 votes followed by incumbents David Grum and Michael Munda with 1,929 and 1,884 votes, respectively. Challengers Mark Lund and Tony Bennett came in fourth and sixth with 1,853 and 1,587 votes, respectively. Incumbent Richard Conley came in fifth with 1,753 votes. Conway, Grum and Munda supported each other in the race, and received backing from Lake County Federation of Teachers. Conway credited her victory to her regular presence at school board meetings over the past five years. And getting out on the campaign trail, "talking to voters, making that contact and letting them know what's going on," was also crucial, Conway said. Working together with Conway and Munda made the campaign successful, Grum said. "We had a minimum amount of voters come out, but the overall picture is those who did come out and vote were backing us," Grum said. Asked about the results, Conley said, "of course you're disappointed. Having been on the board for four years, I'm proud of what I've done." One issue that arose in the election was the district's purchase of a 100-acre vacant parcel last August near Stearns School Road and Mill Creek Drive in an unincorporated area northwest of Gurnee Mills. A District 121 board majority agreed to borrow about $8 million to buy the farmland. Conley said he'd rather sell the land or lease it instead of spending to develop the site. Conley and Warren board member Jeanette Thommes were the dissenters in a 5-2 vote to buy the land. Lund and Bennett shared Conley's desire to sell the land. Munda, who voted for the purchase, said it isn't economically feasible to proceed with developing the 100 acres at this time. Conway said she's unsure whether there is enough money to develop the land right now. District 121 includes Gurnee, Park City, Old Mill Creek, Wadsworth and unincorporated areas known as Gages Lake, Wildwood, Druce Lake, Millburn and Grandwood Park.
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