Challengers succeed in District 300
Voters in Community Unit District 300 made it clear at the polls Tuesday that they do not support proposed changes to secondary schools and the recent teacher layoffs.
A pair of challengers, Steve Fiorentino and Susie Kopacz, and incumbent Chris Stanton -- who voted against last month's decision to lay off 363 teachers and administrators -- were elected. Current school board President Joe Stevens was also re-elected.
There were six candidates vying for four, 4-year terms.
With all 68 precincts reporting, Stanton had 3,562 votes, Kopacz 3,417 votes, Stevens 3,371 votes and Fiorentino had 3,365 votes, according to unofficial results.
Incumbents Monica Clark and Karen Plaza received 1,998 and 2,723 votes, respectively.
Stanton said his votes against the reductions in force and restructuring schedules at the middle and high school levels were not a play for votes.
"I agree that we need changes but I was concerned with the timing," Stanton said. "It wouldn't be my intention to vote that way to get re-elected. I will support it and give it due diligence."
Stevens, who said he looks forward to working with incoming Superintendent Michael Bregy, said the district's financial situation will remain a top priority for the new school board.
"I am hopeful that the current negotiations with the teachers union will be fruitful," Stevens said. "Then we will have to take it one year at a time because we don't know what the state of Illinois will do."
Clark, who created a YouTube sensation last week after comments she made during a contentious school board meeting were posted, ran dead last. Clark dropped an F bomb off microphone in describing students who came to the last school board meeting to decry the planned layoffs.
But Clark declined to blame the outburst -- and a prior incident where she said she blamed LEAD 300 president for the stalled contract negotiations -- for her election loss.
"I have regrets about saying those things, but I had difficult time winning last time," said Clark, who was elected four years ago. "I am disappointed, very disappointed, but the people have spoken."