By Terry Dean
District 200 board member Jacques Conway is disappointed by his colleague John Allen's defeat in last week's election. Allen, first elected in 2007, came in fourth in the six-person field seeking to join the governing board of Oak Park and River Forest High School. Fellow incumbents Ralph Lee and Sharon Patchak-Layman won re-election. Conway, a two-term trustee, is pleased with Lee's and Patchak-Layman's win but thinks Allen's loss is a blow to the board.
"He's contributed a lot to the board and truly represented the school and all of the students," Conway said. "Elections sometimes come down to voters coming out and voting on their special interests. What gets lost are contributors like John Allen, who doesn't have a special interest. His interest is to serve all the kids in the district.
"It's the voters' choice and I can respect that," Conway added, "but I think it's a loss for our district."
Though disappointed in his loss, Allen, speaking to Wednesday Journal this week, is glad John Phelan, last week's top vote getter, is joining the board, calling him one of the strongest candidates in the field. Allen also thinks his bluntness on some issues may have hurt his re-election chances, but he maintains he spoke honestly and with conviction on the things he believed in.
"I never tried to be rude but to make my points. I don't have that art of dancing around an issue. I pretty much went ahead and said what I felt."