With the deadline for candidate filings passed, the races for districts 97 and 200 school boards are coming into focus. Among the 671 suburban school board candidates running for open spots across Cook County, 10 are running for the four contested seats on the District 97 school board and eight for the three contested seats on the District 200 school board. 

District 97

On the D97 board, current board President Robert Spatz and board member Jim O’Connor are the only two incumbents seeking reelection. Board members Denise Sacks and Peter Traczyk will not seek reelection. Traczyk, however, has filed as a candidate for the District 200 board.

Among the challengers for the D97 board is Hueland Richard “Rick” Boultinghouse III, an outspoken critic of the district. Boultinghouse was among the residents behind a campaign to stop the board from considering the possibility of building its new headquarters on Oak Park Village Hall land.

District 200

Sharon Patchak-Layman is the only sitting District 200 Board member who has filed for reelection. Three of the seven D200 board seats are open, with two incumbent terms set to expire, Ralph Lee and John Phelan deciding not to run for reelection. Among the seven challengers is 24-year-old University of Chicago Law School graduate Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley, who graduated from OPRF in 2007. Mbekeani-Wiley is the child of Malawian immigrants whose grandfather fought during Malawi’s independence movement and eventually became his country’s ambassador to the United States.

There’s also electronic trader Stephen Schuler, who along with his wife, Mary Jo Schuler and fellow trader Daniel Tierney, founded the firm Global Electronic Trading Co. (GETCO for short). A 2009 profile of the firm in Fortune Magazine noted that, according to one financial analysis, GETCO’s annual profits are in the “hundreds of millions” and the firm employs 200 people who work in Chicago, New York, London and Singapore. Shuler and his wife are major philanthropists in the area, having donated approximately $200,000 to the Park District of Oak Park. 

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