A reconfigured school board will face some tough issues in Millburn Elementary District 24, as three new board member were elected tonight. Incumbent Lisa Scanio, who was appointed to the board in May 2009, also made the cut.
Two incumbents were on the ballot but only Scanio will return.
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With all 13 precincts reporting, Joseph Pineau, Scott Miller, and Lisa Scanio took 4-year terms with unofficial vote totals of 272, 265, and, 194 respectively.
For the 2-year seat, Jane Gattone, a stay-at-home mom and chairman of the Lindenhurst plan commission defeated incumbent Shawn Lahr, 383 votes to 88 votes, according to unofficial totals. Lahr was on the ballot but decided not to campaign and publicly supported Gattone. Two other incumbents did not run for re-election.
Interest in the financially troubled district was evident by the fact 11 candidates were on the ballot for the seats, although it was a desire for stability and a change of pace that drew them. A failed request for a tax hike last fall and the controversial ouster after two years of Superintendent Ellen Mauer created more tension.
"People realized maybe that fresh blood, new blood, new ideas would be healthy," Miller said. "Hopefully we can gel and mesh ... we'll have to work together."
Scanio has been heavily involved in finances and planning in her time on the board. She was a co-author and presenter at a community forum regarding the district's finances.
She also is one of two board members serving on the strategic planning committee, which is establishing short- and long-range visions as the district struggles to dig out of debt. One outcome is the expected decision on whether to convert the two schools to grade centers.
Gattone says finances are her chief concern and believes the district at some point will have to ask taxpayers for more money to buy the basics, such as textbooks.
Millburn has about 1,700 students in two schools serving kindergarten to eighth grade in Lindenhurst, Wadsworth, and areas of Lake Villa.