Candidates file for April school elections

OPRF school board members announce re-election bids

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Two more members of the District 200 Board of Education have announced they'll be seeking re-election next April.

John Allen and Sharon Patchak-Layman confirmed they are running again. The filing period for candidates running for office on April 5, 2011 opened on Monday and continues through Dec. 20. Three seats are open on the high school board. Ralph Lee had already announced his bid for re-election and is among the early filers. He, Allen and Patchak-Layman were all elected in 2007.

Two other hopefuls thus far have filed for the Dist. 200 board — John Bokum and John Phelan.

On Monday, Allen said he plans to file sometime this week and made the decision to run again within the last month or so. Allen, a River Forest resident, is chair of the board's finance committee. He said he wants to continue to work on the high school's finances, which he says remain strong. As for accomplishments as a board member, Allen cited the race workshops that board members conducted in spring 2008, which he helped spearhead with former superintendent Attila Weninger. Helping to maintain Oak Park and River Forest High School's finances with solvent fund balances was another.

Patchak-Layman told the Journal on Tuesday that she'll file her petitions later this week or next Monday. A former member of the Dist. 97 board, Patchak-Layman said she still has a lot to contribute to the board and community. She's known, though, as something of a maverick on the high school board, often clashing with fellow members on issues related to transparency and board policy. But she noted that while fellow members don't always share her views, they are usually interested in the issues she raises.

"Individual board members and I agree on individual issues but not across the board," she said.

At Oak Park Elementary School District 97, board member Bob Spatz was the only candidate to file on Monday, though board President Peter Traczyk confirmed last month that he planned to run for re-election. Two other seats on Dist. 97 board are currently held by Rance Clouser and Michelle Harton. Neither has publicly announced their intentions. Clouser, Spatz and Traczyk were elected in 2007; Harton is completing her second term.

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