UPDATED: School District 181 Gets Four New Board Members
Newly elected candidates will replace four incumbents whose terms end in May.
*UPDATED: 12:00 p.m. April 6
Four new members will soon take a seat at the School Board table in School District 181 and tackle the issues facing the district, which include budget woes.
“Now the hard work starts,” said newly elected Michael Nelson, who currently serves on the Hinsdale Plan Commission. “I think the group are a bunch of folks that are committed to making positive changes.”
Six candidates ran for four seats on the board. Voters elected Glenn Yaeger, Marty Turek, Michael Nelson and Brendan Heneghan. According to unofficial election results from DuPage and Cook counties:
- Yaeger received 1,934 votes,
- Turek received 1,638 votes,
- Nelson received 1,885 votes and
- Heneghan received 1,550 votes.
Two candidates lost. They are:
- Susan Nezda Lastres with 1,473 votes and
- Scott Musil with 1,395 votes.
Nelson, a retired marketing and advertising executive, said he thinks the new board members will work well together, along with the existing board members. The first task, he said, is to focus on teacher negotiations. Roughly 80 percent of the district’s budget is salary and benefits, he said. Currently the district is facing a $1.2 million deficit for next year’s budget.
“If we’re truly going to affect the financial performance of the district, we have to change the dynamics of the contract as it exists today,” said Nelson, who has a daughter in the district and a son in high school.
Heneghan, a senior attorney for IBM, said he is “thrilled” to be elected.
“I’m really humbled to receive the support of the voters of District 181,” said Heneghan, who has three children in the district.
He said the election was “fair and civil,” among the candidates, and that he looks forward to learning more about his role as a board member and the district. He said he also looks forward to continuing to talk with local residents about the district.
“There’s a lot of good ideas out there in a community that really supports education,” Heneghan said.
Yaeger, former general manager of the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team, said he is pleased with the results.
“I look forward to serving the community and the board,” said Yaeger, who has three sons attending district schools. “The first thing we need to do is be seated at the board and then meet with the administration and set down what our goals are for the future.”
Turek, the only candidate from Clarendon Hills, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. He is the vice president of a software company and has two children currently attending district schools.
Nezda Lastres, an associate professor at Northwestern University and executive in the health information technology company, said the four elected board members “will do a good job.”
“I think the district is in good hands,” she said.
Nezda Lastres, whose son graduated last year from Hinsdale Middle School, said she appreciates the opportunity to run and plans to stay involved in the district.
“I think more people should become involved in the process,” she said.
It’s an important time for the community, she said, and there is need for engagement with the community.
“One of the things that I find disappointing is how disengaged some in the community are with the day to day operations of our district,” she said.
While it’s too early to say if she will run again, Nezda Lastres said she will work to improve communication and connect people with the district.
The new board members will take their posts when the terms of School Board President Linda Rio Reichmann, Vice President Roseanne Rosenthal, Marc Monvek and Andrew Schmidt expire in May.
*The story above was updated with comments from Glenn Yaegar and Susan Nezda Lastres who were contacted prior to publication, but could not respond until after the election results were announced.