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updated: 4/4/2017 10:47 PM

Union helps trounce incumbents in Woodland District 50 school board race

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  • Upper from left, Renea Amen, Bill Barnabee, Anthony DeMonte, Joseph De Rosa, Jennifer Haack and lower from left, Elizabeth Helgren, Vincent Juarez, Carla Little, Joyce Mason and Richard Payne were Woodland Elementary District 50 board candidates. Candidate James Hurd is not pictured.

    Upper from left, Renea Amen, Bill Barnabee, Anthony DeMonte, Joseph De Rosa, Jennifer Haack and lower from left, Elizabeth Helgren, Vincent Juarez, Carla Little, Joyce Mason and Richard Payne were Woodland Elementary District 50 board candidates. Candidate James Hurd is not pictured.

 
 

With the teachers union actively supporting opponents of the current school board, voters in Woodland Elementary District 50 ousted four incumbents in a race for five seats Tuesday.

With all the unofficial votes in, newcomers Joyce Mason, Joseph DeRosa, Carla Little and Jennifer Haack won 4-year terms.

In addition, newcomer Elizabeth Helgren trounced incumbent Vincent Juarez for the sole 2-year term up for election,

Woodland teachers union President Sharon Anday had sent an email to all employees encouraging them to vote for Helgren, Mason, DeRosa, Little and unsuccessful candidate Richard Payne, according to a document obtained from the district through a Daily Herald open-records request.

The vote tallies for the 4-year seats showed Mason, 2,155; DeRosa, 1,366; Little, 1,736; and Haack at 1,494.

They were followed closely by James Hurd, 1,337 and Payne, 1,240.

Trailing the field were incumbents Renea Amen, 1,041; Anthony DeMonte, 975; and Bill Barnabee, 872.

The vote tallies for the 2-year seat showed Helgren, 2,563, and incumbent Juarez, 892.

How to deal with Gurnee-based District 50s financial problems was a key issue for the 11 candidates.

School board members in February approved a combination of personnel cuts and cost-saving measures expected to save about $1.8 million starting next school year. That's less than the $2.4 million in reductions recommended by Woodland administrators.

Cuts in teaching and other positions were floated by some candidates as potential solutions. Other candidates said administrative-level jobs should be explored for potential cuts or savings by combining jobs.

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