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Article updated: 4/10/2013 12:44 AM

Farley, Geier join Barrington board

By Eric Peterson

Newcomers Wendy Farley and Christopher Geier will be joining incumbents Penny Kazmier and Sandra Ficke-Bradford on the Barrington Unit District 220 school board, according to unofficial election results Tuesday.

With all precincts counted, Kazmier had 3,454 votes, Farley 3,388, Ficke-Bradford 2,872 and Geier 2,730 in the race for four open seats. Jerry Keaton had 2,618 votes and Sophia Chen-de Vries 2,035.

Farley, an attorney, and Geier, a businessman, said they hoped to bring their professional expertise to the board.

"I hope to fill a void on the board in that there is no attorney on the board," Farley said.

"I think financial stewardship is one of the biggest things I know that I can bring," said Geier.

Kazmier and Ficke-Bradford said their re-elections showed voters support the work District 220 is doing.

"I feel that the votes reflect (residents') confidence in the board," Ficke-Bradford said.

Somewhat regular turnover, rather than the pursuit of long-lasting legacies, has characterized the District 220 board over the past 20 years.

The six candidates embarked on a campaign addressing many different issues.

but all somewhat related to the district's ability to cope with growing uncertainties in state and federal funding.

Discussions touched on the district's ability to provide unique programs like Chinese immersion while still balancing its budget, and whether recent budgets had met the candidates' definition of "balanced."

Superintendent Tom Leonard said the district's independent auditors have declared its budgets balanced for the past 17 years. He suggested that candidates -- Keaton and Geier in particular -- who questioned whether the budget was balanced were focused the district's use of Debt Service Extension Base borrowing.

He said this type of borrowing, which districts statutorily have a right to, is a finance mechanism that provides usable revenue upfront that needs to be repaid within several years.

Leonard said the district has been adhering to his own definition of a balanced budget -- that money coming in from all sources is equal to or greater than money going out.

Chen-de Vries also was running uncontested Tuesday for re-election to the Tower Lakes village board. She said she would have resigned from the village panel if she had been elected to the District 220 school board.

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