Lester: Were tax bills clues in mix-up over Dist. 25 board member's residency?

The top vote-getter in last week's election for the Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 school board was paying property taxes to Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59, and records show she voted in an election last November when a District 59 issue was on her ballot.

But Anisha Patel, who's lived on the 500 block of East Lincoln Street in Arlington Heights since 2008, says she didn't know until last week there was a question about whether her house is in District 25.

I called her to ask about it but she begged off, citing her children's snack time, so I followed up with an email asking whether she'd noticed the tax bill and ballot had a different school district. In a return email she didn't answer the questions, noting simply, "I'm pleased this these questions about my eligibility are now put to rest."

Not yet settled

It looks like the matter is indeed put to rest, at least legally.

District 25 officials, after consulting with attorneys, determined Friday afternoon that Patel can take a seat on the school board.

Earlier, Patel's campaign and Cook County Clerk David Orr's office had pointed to a record from Aug. 11, 1937, noting the Lincoln Street site is in District 25.

According to unofficial returns, Patel tallied 3,199 votes, followed by school board secretary Erin Johannesen with 2,720, board President David Page with 2,456 and incumbent Richard Olejniczak with 2,342.

Growing ranks in DuPage

DuPage County Democrats Chairman Bob Peickert says he expects more than 800 attendees at the party's annual gala April 23 in Lombard, twice the usual number.

The event will feature Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison and Illinois gubernatorial candidates Chris Kennedy of Kenilworth, Ameya Pawar of Chicago and J.B. Pritzker of Chicago, along with more than two dozen other state and congressional officials.

Peickert, of Elmhurst, sees it as one of several signs the formerly rock-ribbed Republican territory is changing.

In January, the county party held an informal meeting for local voters and 550 people showed up - 400 of them new to the organization. In November, Hillary Clinton won the county by 14 points over President Donald Trump. Gala tickets are at

Big money in Bolingbrook

Major political donors swept in to help candidates in the Bolingbrook mayor's race in the final weeks of the campaign, filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections show. Republican businessman Ron Gidwitz' super PAC, the Economic Freedom Alliance, spent more than $36,512 to support 31-year Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar. He also spent more than $61,024 opposing challenger Jackie Traynere's campaign.

Traynere got some help from big name Democrats, including Democratic candidate Pritzker, who wrote her a $2,500 check. AFSME gave her campaign $5,000 and the American Federation of Teachers contributed $1,500.

Claar had hosted a Trump fundraiser, angering some and sparking the high-profile battle.

Schaumburg native takes IEA helm

A longtime fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Einstein-Abbott School in Hanover Park has been elected to lead the state's largest teachers union. Kathi Griffin, of Schaumburg, previously served as the Illinois Education Association's vice president and a member of the 135,000-member union's regional council.

Griffin has been vocal in issues affecting districts around the suburbs. She released a video message in February urging the Elgin Area School District U-46 board to reject an agreement that would outsource some of the district's transportation duties. She tells me traveling around the state with the union has made her realize how "absolutely amazing" Schaumburg Township District 54 is and the struggles facing other, poorly funded districts.

At the top of her to-do list is to push government leaders to pass a full-year budget and increase funding for schools.

Horror honors

Wheeling resident Barbara Barnett's debut novel, "The Apothecary's Curse," made the final ballot of the Bram Stoker Awards, given annually by the Horror Writers Association. Awards are announced at the end of the month in Los Angeles.

Robert Peickert, chairman of the DuPage County Democrats.
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