Slate endorsed by teachers union leading pack in District 211
Three candidates supportive of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211's handling of the pandemic and finances have taken an early lead in the election of three seats on the board of education.
Leading the pack with 146 of 148 precincts reporting were newcomer Curtis Bradley with 8,074 votes, the sole incumbent Anna Klimkowicz with 7,986 votes and Timothy McGowan with 7,430 votes -- all on a slate endorsed by the teachers union.
Following behind were Jessica Hinkle with 7,187 votes, Kristen Steel with 5,401, Robi Vollkommer with 4,810, Denise Wilson with 3,748 and Roxanne Wittkamp with 1,879.
As in many other suburban districts, criticisms of remote learning during the past year inspired some of the candidacies and debates in the District 211 race.
In their campaign, candidates Vollkommer, Steel, Hinkle and Wilson shared mutual support in a platform based largely on getting students back into the classroom and an exercise of greater fiscal discipline.
Klimkowitz banded together with Bradley and McGowan on a slate.
While Klimkowitz and Bradley voiced stronger support for how the district has handled the pandemic and its finances, McGowan's candidacy was more inspired by identifying equity issues he said students were reporting. But he was also recently sued by fired Palatine High School teacher Jeanne Hedgepeth who alleged McGowan's social media posts had been a factor in her dismissal over a controversial Facebook post of her own criticizing last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.
Wittkamp is an educator who wasn't aligned with either informal slate. She said she was inspired to run by seeing the board needing to operate more as a team, and believed the district responded to the pandemic within the guidelines it needed to.
In contrast to the wide field of candidates in District 211, both of its feeder districts -- Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 -- had uncontested board races on Tuesday.