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Article updated: 4/9/2013 5:38 AM

School, village, library races among DuPage County's hottest

By Christopher Placek

Voters throughout DuPage County are heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in a variety of races -- in some cases to choose mayors who will lead their communities for the next four years, and in others to decide the fate of proposed tax increases.

But among some of the hottest races attracting the most candidates -- and the most contention -- are elections for school boards and village boards. There's even a bitter library board race that features 10 candidates for five seats.

Many of Tuesday's races aren't particularly high-profile, but they will go a long way in determining what day-to-day services residents receive, how neighborhood schools are managed and how much residents will pay on their property tax bills.

One of the most crowded fields among school board races is in Naperville Unit District 203, where 11 candidates are running for four open seats. Incumbents Susan Crotty and Jackie Romberg are seeking new terms, while those seeking to join the board include Charles Cush, David Fish, Jay Fisher, Kristin Fitzgerald, Derek Krauss, Sabina Qadir, Heather Rajamoney, Neil Samuels and Donna Wandke.

In neighboring Indian Prairie Unit District 204, seven candidates are seeking four spots on the board: incumbents Cathy Piehl and Benjamin White, and newcomers Krishna Bansal, Vasavi Chakka, Maria Curry, Sotiria Kapsis and Michael Raczak. One candidate whose name appears on the ballot, Jazmin Santillan, recently withdrew. Justin Karubas is running unopposed for a 2-year term.

The race in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 is also crowded, with a total of nine candidates running for four seats. Incumbents Joann Coghill, Barbara Intihar and Ken Knicker are seeking another term. They are challenged by Bruce Fogerty, Harold Lonks, James Mathieson, Kyle Nenninger, Brad Paulsen and Jan Shaw. One issue the new board could face is oversight of the proposed $17.6 million Jefferson Early Childhood Center, should voters decide to approve a referendum question seeking to build it.

Countywide, voters will elect two trustees to serve 6-year terms on the College of DuPage board. Incumbents Dave Carlin of Naperville -- the board chairman -- and Joe Wozniak of Naperville are seeking another term. Carlin is running on a slate with Kathy Hamilton of Hinsdale. Ed Agustin of Naperville has been endorsed by the college's faculty association. The union also had endorsed Frank Flores Jr., a former college employee from Glendale Heights, but later withdrew its support when revelations came to light that Flores had been fired in 2010 after sexual harassment allegations were made by some students. Also running is Mike Lanners of Lombard, a former COD employee.

Among city council races, the most candidates are in Naperville, where 11 people are running for four seats. Incumbents Judith Brodhead, Paul Hinterlong and Doug Krause face newcomers Kevin Coyne, Jeff Davis, Wayne Floegel, Tom Glass, Bill Habel, John Krummen, Jo Malik and David Wentz.

In some towns, groups of candidates are running together on slates. Bensenville Trustee Oronzo Peconio, a candidate for village president, is running his Bensenville First slate against incumbent Village President Frank Soto's Changed Bensenville slate, which consists of two trustee incumbents and the current village clerk running for the board. Soto's slate says they've made progress since John Geils was defeated as village president four years ago, but Peconio's slate says the progress has been too slow. A third mayoral candidate, Rich Johnson, is running without a slate.

The village board election in Glendale Heights features longtime Village President Linda Jackson's slate of three incumbent trustees and the current village clerk. Their website encourages residents to "vote for people you know and trust." They are taking on village president candidate Marilyn Liwanag's For a Better Glendale Heights four-person slate. John DeBartolo, a trustee candidate, has organized a four-person slate that includes Ed Pope, a former trustee running for village president.

It's not often that slates are organized for lower-level races, but that's the case in Carol Stream, where the library board race has become one of the most contentious in DuPage County.

Board President Mike Wade's Support Your Library group is running against board Vice President Jim Bailey's Support the Library group. Each slate has five candidates, and there's a total of five seats available.

The conflict stems from a turnover in the board majority last year that led to the library director being fired, a piece of property long-intended for a new library being put on the market, and the censure of Bailey by Wade's majority.

Ÿ To see complete coverage of all the suburban races, including candidate profiles, endorsements and news analysis, go to http://www.dailyherald.com/news/politics/election.

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