Caucus-backed quartet finish in front in race for Winnetka Public Schools Board
Winnetka voters made a statement regarding their priorities on Election Night.
More than 2,200 ballots came in with selections in the race for Winnetka District 36 School Board, making for a 23% turnout rate — tops for elections in The Record’s coverage area (New Trier Township, Highland Park).
Most of those votes supported the four caucus-endorsed candidates: Emily Rose (incumbent, 22.46%), Katherine Myers-Crum (21.78%), Luke Figora (21.74%) and Marena Rudy (21.62%). Each member of the quartet finished well ahead of Patrick Conway (12.4%), who challenged the caucus selections before beginning an independent campaign.
Myers-Crum, a charter school administrator, said the results are evidence of where residents stand on education.
“We’re very excited about the four slated candidates being elected, and we are also just excited that this was a pretty high turnout for this kind of election,” she said. “Education is a huge, huge, huge priority in Winnetka, and people care very deeply about the schools here.”
Rose is the School Board president and will retake her seat on the board, while Figora and Rudy will begin their first terms with Myers-Crum. Three current board members — Maxie Clarke, Dawn Livingston and Megan Panje-Wilson — will retire in May.
The caucus candidates released a statement in response to the results, saying in part, “We believe that our student-centered lens and the experiences we bring to the board will aid the schools and community at large as we navigate the challenges we are experiencing as a nation.”
The slated candidates also believe that their message of inclusion and acceptance made a difference in the results.
Myers-Crum said the slate “was very clear in our position” and the results show that Winnetka is a “unified places for families and kids, and that’s incredibly important.”
Conway applied to the Winnetka Caucus, and when the caucus council did not select him, a caucus member nominated Conway from the floor. The nomination was not successful, leading Conway to challenge the caucus picks on the ballot.
Though he finished on the outside of the winner’s circle, he said he was grateful to the hundreds of residents who voted for him.
He congratulated the slate, calling all four “good candidates,” but criticized the Winnetka Caucus, saying he believes it does a disservice to Winnetka by pushing forward candidates before many residents learn about them.
“I knew it would be an uphill battle,” Conway said, “but we made an impact.”
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319