Local School, Park and Library Board Races Uncontested
Candidates trickle in to run for school, library and park board races in April 2013 election; some vacancies still remain.
Oak Lawn residents appear satisfied with how the public schools, parks and library are being run in the village. All of the local races in the upcoming consolidated election on April 9, 2013 are uncontested.
“I tend to look at it that people are okay and happy,” Dist. 229 Superintendent Dr. Michael Riordan said. “Usually when things are in turmoil, that’s when people jump in.”
The deadline for filing nominating petitions for all local races was at 5 p.m. Dec. 26.
The last chance to file a challenge against a candidate's filing petitions is Jan. 3.
The Oak Lawn Village Board offers the only contested races, with ten candidates filing petitions for village trustee seats in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 6. The mayoral and village clerk seats are also contested.
Ridgeland Elementary School Dist. 122
There are four open seats and four candidates running to serve on the D122 elementary school board that includes Columbus-Manor, Lieb, Kolb and Harnew elementary schools and Simmons Middle School. Three are incumbents running for re-election; former D122 school board member David Lis, who lost his seat two years ago, is running again in the upcoming April election.
D122 Board President Dan Sodaro, who lost by 11 votes as a write-in candidate for Dist. 3 village trustee in 2011, has opted not to seek another term.
- David Lis
- Steve Niceforo (incumbent)
- Christine Glader-Wendt (incumbent)
- Pat Pulver (incumbent)
Oak Lawn-Hometown School Dist. 123
There are four open seats and four candidates running in Dist. 123 elementary school district serving Sward, Covington, Hannum, Kolmar and Hometown elementary schools, and Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School.
D123 board member Lynn Jareczek has opted not to run for re-election after serving one term that began in 2009.
Julie Misner is stepping down to run for Oak Lawn trustee in the second district, after one term on the school board.
School board president Joe Sorrentino announced his candidacy for sixth district trustee on the Oak Lawn Village Board. His current school board term is not up but says that he will step down if he wins the village trustee race.
- Richard J. Mason (incumbent)
- Jay M. Lurquin (incumbent)
- Brian Nichols
- Peter DeRousse
Community High School District 218
Oak Lawn and part of Chicago Ridge in the sixth subdistrict has been without presentation on the Dist. 218 school board for two years. D218 includes Richards High School in Oak Lawn, as well as Shepard High School in Palos Heights, and Eisenhower High School in Blue Island.
Former D218 board member Ron Pratl narrowly won over challenger Linda Flanaga-Vahl by just ## votes in 2011. Pratl abruptly resigned within a month of winning his third term on the D218 board, citing medical and personal reasons. Vahl and Donald Pratl, the departing board member’s brother, both wanted the seat but school board members locked horns over a replacement. Because the board missed the deadline for appealing to the South Cook Intermediate Service Center for a replacement, the seat has remained vacant ever since.
Only one candidate has filed for the sixth subdistrict seat in the April 2013 election. Donald Pratl, a former Chicago Ridge public official and adjunct college professor, has stepped forward again to try to reclaim his brother's old board seat.
Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. 229
The Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. 229 school board has four open seats, but only three candidates have filed to run in the April election. Incumbent James Melnik, who ran for a two-year term in a special election in 2011 to fill a board vacancy, is running for a full four-year term. Melnik’s petitions were famously challenged two years ago because he fastened them with a paper clip. He prevailed over a challenge and went on to win the election.
Stepping down are three incumbent board members including the board president Donald Janik; vice-president Melissa Slade, who has attended most of the meetings by phone because of job demands; and secretary David Altenburg.
D229 Superintendent Dr. Michael Riordan said that a fourth candidate could run for the school board as a write-in candidate. After the new board is seated, a member can be appointed to fill the vacancy.
The district faces staggering deficits and adopted a plan that reduced students’ course load from seven to six classes.
- Jim Melnik (incumbent)
- Robert Loehr
- Kathleen Berry
Oak Lawn Library Board
Three seats are open and three candidates have filed for the Oak Lawn Library Board. One of the seats has been vacant for more than a year.
- Glen Kato
- Michael Rummery
- Roseann Spoto
Oak Lawn Park District
Oak Lawn Park District commissioners serve six-year terms. Only one seat is open in the 2013 election. Incumbent Gary Callahan has filed his nominating petitions.The deadline for candidates to get their names on the ballot has past, but the opportunity remains for a write-in candidate.