Most incumbents faring well so far in McHenry County school board races

Out of 21 incumbents across nine contested races, most in position for new terms with tallies ongoing

Most incumbent school board members were ahead in Tuesday’s election for eight McHenry County school districts with competitive board races, according to unofficial vote tallies.

Out of the 21 incumbents in contested races for school boards serving McHenry County and parts of other collar counties, 13 were positioned to retain their seats, according to unofficial election results as of 11:30 p.m.

But that could change as more ballots are counted throughout the next two weeks.

Huntley School District 158 and Johnsburg School District 12 had the most incumbents run than the other district with competitive races in McHenry County, with all four school board members in each district with expiring terms running for new ones.

But voters appeared to favor Johnsburg candidates’ bids for reelection more than they did in the Huntley school system.

Early results from District 12 showed all four incumbents were leading in the four-seat race between six candidates. The newcomers, Kirk Donald and Fred Haller, respectively were in fifth and sixth place, with 10.7% of the votes counted so far for Donald and 4.2% for Haller.

Of the four Johnsburg incumbents, James Barrett had 27.2%, Cathy B. Neiss 24.1%, Thomas J. Oeffling 19.0% and Steve Link 14.9%.

In the four-seat race for the District 158 school board, which included 10 candidates, two incumbents, Lesli Melendy and Sean Cratty, were among the top four. Melendy was in first with 13.4% and Cratty was second with 12.9%, while newcomers Katherine Policheri had 12.8% and Laura Murray had 12.4% to round out the top four.

Trailing were incumbent Paul A. Troy at 12.2%, Dana Dalton-Wiley at 11.0%, incumbent Anthony R. Quagliano at 10.4%, Susan Hochmuth at 10.4% and Tara Masino at 4.6%.

Results for write-in candidates were not posted by election officials in McHenry or Kane counties Tuesday, so it is unknown how the sole Huntley school board write-in candidate Jennifer Sargent fared.

Barrington Community Unit School District 220 held the most competitive race among school systems serving McHenry County, with 11 candidates vying for four seats. Just one of the two incumbents, Sandra Ficke-Bradford, was among the top four as of Tuesday night, with 11.6%, enough for fourth place.

Newcomer Erin Chan Ding was leading with 13.1%, while fellow newcomers Steve Wang had 11.9% and Katie Karam had 12.0% to make up the top four so far.

Newcomer Malgorzata McGonigal was in fifth with 10.0% followed by Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, also with 10.0%, incumbent Michael Shackleton with 9.2%, Thomas J. Mitora with 8.6%, Robert Windon with 6.4%, William Betz with 3.9% and Jonathan Matta with 3.5%.

Two out of three Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 incumbents — Emily Smith and Jonathan Powell — were among the top four in that school system’s four-seat race among seven candidates. Challenger Tim Mahaffy was in first with 20.6%, Smith was in second with 20.2%, challenger Debra Barton was in third with 20.0% and Powell rounded out the top four with 17.4%.

The third Crystal Lake incumbent, Betsy Les, had 13.6% of the votes counted so far, and newcomers Daniel Palombit and Cascia L. Talbert respectively had 5.4% and 2.8%.

Voters in Algonquin-based Community School District 300, the only competitive race in McHenry County where three seats are up instead of four, had incumbents David Scarpino and Emmanuel Thomas among the top trio, with 19.7% and 15.0% of the vote, respectively. Christine Brikett was in first place with 20.0% of the votes counted so far.

Kristina M. Paul was trailing with 14.6%, Holly Jarovsky had 13.7%, Kim Withycombe had 11.4% and Daniel P. Dale had 5.8%.

One incumbent for Cary School District 26, Melinda Hartman was among the top spots in the four-seat race. Hartman had 26.6% of the of the votes counted so far and the other incumbent, Julie Jette, was trailing newcomer Stacey Stault for fifth place in the five-way race with 8.4% compared with Stault’s 9.7%. The newcomer Anne Santucci was in first place in District 26 with 31.0% of the votes, and Anthony W. Stefani was third with 24.4%.

McHenry County results did not show how many votes there were for write-in candidates Tuesday night, meaning it is unknown whether Nippersink School District 2′s sole write-in candidate, Ryan A. Andrus, was in the running to beat one of the four candidates on the ballot in the four-seat race.

Newcomer Carl Uphoff was leading the Nippersink race with 33.5%, another newcomer Joel Johnson was second with 33.1% of the votes and the race’s only incumbent Elke Kleisch was third with 23.9%. Robin S. Taylor was fourth with 9.6%.

The Alden-Hebron School District 19 race had incumbent Andy Madsen leading with 23.0% of the votes so far, while another incumbent Brandon Berg, was also among the top four and positioned to keep his seats, with 18.2%.

Fellow incumbent Penny Smith, however, trailed Ricky A. Madsen Jr., who had 18.5% of the vote compared to Smith’s 17.3%. Newcomer Matt Mislek was in second place with 20.3% in the District 19 race.

McHenry Elementary School District 15′s four-seat race was the only that featured no incumbent candidates. But there was one with local government experience, Chad Mihevc, who has served McHenry High School District 156 in the past and is about to finish a term as a McHenry alderman. Voters had him in first place with 26.2%, while newcomer Patrick J. DeGeorge was in second with 25.9%, and Lindsay Morley had 25.8% and Rachel McDonnell had 11.5% to round out the top four.

Jennifer L. Synek was trailing at fifth in the District 15 race at 10.6%.

Sam Lounsberry

Sam Lounsberry covers local government, business, K-12 education and all other aspects of life in McHenry County, in particular in the communities of Woodstock, McHenry, Richmond, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake and Johnsburg.