That’s the slim lead that Shari Klyber has over incumbent Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education member Juliet Boyd in the race for the third and final spot on the District 96 school board.
But it appears likely that the lead Klyber claimed on Election Day, April 7, will hold with only a few more votes possibly left to be counted.
As of Monday afternoon there were still 67 mail-in ballots that could still be received and counted and five provisional ballots whose validity has yet to be determined, according to Jim Scalzitti, the deputy director of communications in the Cook County Clerk’s office.
But since absentee ballots had to be postmarked by April 6, it is uncertain if any more absentee ballots will dribble in.
The official canvas of the election is expected to be completed by around April 28 Scalzitti said. If Klyber’s lead holds, it will mean that only one candidate, Rich Regan, on the slate backed by school board President Mary Rose Mangia, Vice President Rachel Marrello and board member Randy Brockway was elected.
All three candidates not on the slate — Jeffrey Miller, Lynda Murphy and Klyber — appear to have won.
Miller said that the results sent a message.
“There was a general sense on one side that the current board was maybe not moving in the right direction and that we needed to change direction,” Miller said. “I think that was the kind of the overriding message of the election.”
Miller, Murphy and Klyber ran independent campaigns, but were clearly allied with each other. They appeared at coffees together and were subtly critical of the current school board majority. They won by piling up big margins in Riverside.
In Miller’s face off with Robert McCormack for a two-year seat on the board, Miller beat McCormack by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in Riverside, capturing 65 percent of the vote there. Miller won every precinct in Riverside other than McCormack’s home precinct.
McCormack, who campaigned door to door to North Riverside, made up some ground there, winning 61 percent of the vote in North Riverside. In the Hollywood section of Brookfield, the results were closer with Miller capturing 53 percent of the vote. Overall, Miller beat McCormack with nearly 56 percent of the vote in the two-man race.
Miller and Murphy were the highest vote-getters despite not doing door-to-door campaigning themselves. In fact they were out of town on vacation the week before the election.
But they and Klyber were strongly supported by those angry at the school board for forcing out Superintendent Bhavna Sharma-Lewis. Many Miller, Murphy and Klyber supporters view the majority of the school board as relatively uninterested in educational issues. They were seen by some as antagonistic toward teachers.
Mangia worked hard for the slate of Regan, Boyd, Hunt and McCormack. She went door to door, passing out their campaign literature, talking to voters and passing out palm cards in front the Riverside Town Hall on Election Day.
She gave the slate her extensive email list from her campaign two years ago. A couple of days after the election, Mangia shrugged off the defeat.
“I feel the same as the Landmark editorial,” Mangia said. “We had a field of seven great candidates and any of them who were elected would do a good service to their community.”
The slate even had professionally made campaign signs that popped up in some yards shortly before the election. Slate members campaigned door to door as did Klyber, who merely passed out her brochure.
Boyd ran exceptionally well in North Riverside, easily winning more votes there than any other candidate in the race for the three four-year terms. But her huge margin in North Riverside wasn’t quite enough to make up the margin that Klyber had built in Riverside.
Boyd’s husband is a paid-on-call fireman in Riverside, a fact noted in the slate’s campaign flier. That may have helped Boyd in North Riverside, where the village’s attempt to privatize the fire department was the main issue in a hotly contested village board race.
“I would have enjoyed continuing my work,” Boyd said. “I had a positive experience; I enjoyed it.”
Regan, the only member of the slate to be elected, finished in second place in the five-candidate field for the three four-year seats just eight votes behind Murphy and 47 votes ahead of Boyd.
Only 57 votes, as of Monday afternoon, separated Murphy in first place from Boyd in fourth place.
Voter turnout was very low. Overall, only 20.15 percent of registered voters voted in the school board race compared to 21.76 percent two years ago. Turnout was especially low in Riverside where only 17 percent of registered voters came out to vote. Throughout the district, 207 fewer voters came to the polls this year compared to in 2013.
“That hurt us,” said former Paul Stack, a Riverside attorney and former village president who served as an informal advisor to the slate candidates. “The folks running against us got pretty much 100 percent of the vote they were going to get. They were going to get the PTO vote and they did. Our votes were just coming from the general population, and the fact that there were no other contested races [in Riverside] hurt us.”
Stack disputed the notion that the election sent any kind of strong message.
“When it’s that closely divided, it becomes impossible to figure out what the message is other than ‘We want you to do a good job,'” Stack said.