Incumbents, former board member win in District 211
Though a high school cafeteria full of people angered by Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211's transgender access practices called for change on the school board in December 2015, a wider community expressed its preference for experienced leadership Tuesday.
With 146 of 147 precincts counted in unofficial totals, incumbents Anna Klimkowicz and Robert Lefevre Jr. along with former board member Edward Yung won re-election to the board.
Klimkowicz has 9,823 votes, LeFevre 8,603 and Yung 8,044. The challenger slate saw Katherine Jee Young David with 7,841 votes, Ralph Bonatz with 7,260 and Jean Forrest with 7,150.
"I think that what it says is the community thinks we're doing a good job," Klimkowicz said.
She cited the strategic planning process the district underwent last year as a positive method to reach out to the community and gauge its opinions on a variety of issues.
But she said the recent debate on transgender access to locker rooms and bathrooms was undoubtedly one of the most publicized issues.
"I think the community is aware of the transgender issue, but is supportive of the solution that we came up with because it was the most fair for all students."
Klimkowicz praised the slate of David, Bonatz and Forrest for the ability to discuss the district's issues anew.
"The slate that was running had good information to share," Klimkowicz said. "It's always good to hear from people who have different opinions."
Bonatz said he and his running mates found the experience of running a rewarding one that strengthened relationships and forged new ties in the community.
"I have a lot of optimism looking forward," he said of a possible future run. "As a team, we think we did everything we could."
A controversial agreement with the federal government to allow a transgender student limited access to a girls locker room -- as well as a district policy allowing all transgender students to use the bathrooms of the gender with which they identify -- sparked the candidacies of the three newcomers running as a slate.
But Bonatz, David and Forrest also educated themselves and took positions on such business-oriented issues as property taxes, contract negotiations and the future use of 60 acres of vacant district-owned land in Schaumburg.
In doing so, they tried to clearly distinguish themselves from incumbents Klimkowicz and LeFevre and former board member Yung.
The three more experienced candidates were running independent campaigns but shared a general support of the district's current practices and its new strategic plan as a basis for future decisions.