Dan Hunt will always remember April 4, 2017 and not just because he was elected to the school board that day.
Hunt’s daughter and fourth child, Kathryn Sue Rathbun Hunt, entered this world at 7:04 a.m. on Election Day, with Hunt’s wife, Kelly, giving birth at Hinsdale Hospital. Kathryn weighed in at 8 pounds, 20 ounces and is 21.5 inches long,
Hunt and his wife voted early on April 1. He did not find out that he was elected until about 9:30 p.m. on election night.
“I had more important matters to attend to,” Hunt said.
Hunt finished second in the five-candidate field, a far cry from his last-place finish in his first school board race two years ago. Five candidates were vying for four seats on the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education.
“It feels great and I look forward to serving,” Hunt said.
The only incumbent in the field, school board President Jeff Miller, led the field with 1,266 votes.
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to serve for four more years,” Miller said. “I think what that does is gives us a little more continuity and stability and the ability to continue our initiatives.”
Hunt finished second with 1,101 votes, David Barsotti finished third with 1,089 votes and Joel Marhoul claimed the last seat up on the board this year with 1,012 votes.
Nick Lambros was the odd man out, finishing fifth and last with 910 votes.
“That’s politics and that’s how it goes,” Lambros said.
Lambros said not having children may have hurt him in what was a very low-key, even sleepy, school board race.
“People don’t know me, maybe,” Lambros said.
The candidates did little obvious campaigning. Hunt and Lambros said they did only a very little door-to-door campaigning while Marhoul walked right by the Riverside Town Hall polling place without stopping on his way home from work on April 4.
At the only candidate forum, differences between the candidates were hard to discern.
Miller who was first elected to the school board two years noted that there seemed to be less interest in the race this year compared to two years ago.
“There were no coffees, there were no PTO invitations,” Miller said. “It was really very low key.”
Miller said that other than going to the candidate forum and a newspaper endorsement interview he didn’t really campaign. He said that he doesn’t believe in campaigning for the school board and said that voters should be wary of anyone who tries too hard to get elected to a school board.
“If somebody really wants it that means they’ve got an agenda,” Miller said. “It’s not like you’re getting a salary, you’re not getting a health package; you’re getting nothing.”
Miller said that he is looking forward to serving with the new board members.
“I think they’re all very well qualified,” Miller said. “My sense in that people, more or less, share a common view about how things should run.”
The last two District 96 school board campaigns were tightly contested, with hot-button issues revolving around a former principal four years ago and the status of the superintendent two years ago.
Four years ago Randy Brockway, Mary Rose Mangia and Rachel Marrello were elected, defeating two incumbents. All three decided not to run for a second term this year.
District 96 is now a much calmer, more stable place than it was two or four years ago. Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye, who started the job in July 2016, seems to have made a good impression in her first year. Last year, co-interim superintendents Patrick Patt and Griff Powell stabilized the district.