District 153 students selected to show legislators their tech skills

Weeks of campaigning come to a close Tuesday as Homewood and Flossmoor voters go to the polls to choose elected officials for their villages and school districts.

If recent history gives any indication of what to expect in this year’s local elections, voter turnout will again be very low. In school board and village elections in 2011 and 2013 – some of which were uncontested – turnout never surpassed 20 percent of registered voters. In most cases, turnout hovered between 12 and 15 percent.

A few numbers to drive home the degree of local election non-voting in Homewood and Flossmoor:

There are currently 27,163 registered voters in Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233. In the 2011 school board election, with six candidates running for four seats, 4,222 ballots were cast for the top vote-getter. Based on the current numbers, that comes to 15.5 percent of all registered voters.

In the 2011 Flossmoor village board election, the two top vote-getters tied with 909 votes; there were three seats open in an uncontested election. Based on the current number of registered voters in the village (7,095), that points to a 13 percent turnout.

Homewood also had an uncontested village board election in 2011. A total of 2,603 ballots were cast for the top vote-getter. Based on the current number of registered voters in Homewood (13,343), that points to a 19 percent turnout.

In 2011, six candidates ran for three seats in Flossmoor School District 161. The top vote-getter received 1,701 votes. District 161 currently has 15,248 registered voters. The numbers indicate that about 11 percent of district voters elected that top candidate four years ago.

There are contested races in Homewood and Flossmoor on Tuesday. The H-F High School race, with eight candidates running for four board of education seats, has probably garnered the most attention. In Flossmoor District 161, six candidates are running for three seats. Four candidates are seeking three seats on the Flossmoor village board.

Candidates running for the Homewood village board and the Homewood School District 153 board of education are unopposed.

The sole commissioner seat at stake in the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District is also uncontested, as are library races.

Most of the candidates in contested races responded to questionnaires that the H-F Chronicle sent them earlier this year. Their responses can be found in the Chronicle’s election guide.

H-F board candidates, according to their ballot position, are John Farrell, Wayne Holloway, Tim Wenckus, Jody Scariano, Debbie Berman, Jennifer Hoekstra, Nora Beverly and Don Popravak. The seats at stake are all four-year positions.

The four incumbents on the ballot – Farrell, Wenckus, Scariano and Berman – are running as a team. They have been endorsed by the H-F teachers union, the Homewood-Flossmoor Education Association.

Popravak, the most vocal critic of the current board and administration among the challengers, has been endorsed by Roger Molski, the mayor of Flossmoor from 1994 to 2009, Glenwood Mayor Kerry Durkin and Glenwood Trustee Paul Styles. He has questioned the ethics of some board decisions and charged the district with financial mismanagement. He has pointed several times during his campaign to a State Report Card finding, based on ACT scores, that only 47 percent of H-F graduates are ready for college.

The incumbent H-F board members, responding to Popravak, say that the high school is financially strong and continues to educate all students so that they are well-prepared for their next step after graduation. They say that 93 percent of H-F graduates go to college and that 89 percent of those students stay in college. Also, they point to a national reputation for excellence and the school’s International Baccalaureate status.   

Three seats are at stake in Flossmoor District 161. Candidates, according to their ballot position, are John Simmons, Gregg Lunceford, Merle Huckabee, Cameron Nelson, Michelle Hoereth and Cassandra Lickert. Simmons and Lunceford are incumbents.

Flossmoor Village Board candidates seeking three four-year seats are (based on their ballot position) Perry Hoag, James Wilder, James Mitros, and Dennis White. Hoag, Wilder and Mitros are incumbents and are running as a team.

Unopposed village trustee candidates in Homewood are incumbents Jay Heiferman, Lisa Purcell and Karen Washington. They are running for four-year seats. Marilyn Thomas, who was appointed village clerk in October, is unopposed in her bid for the remaining two-year term for that post. They are members of the Greater Homewood Party.

Four four-year seats on the Homewood School District 153 ballot are at stake. Unopposed incumbents Steven Anderson, Alexander Bosch and James Schmidt are joined on the ballot by Ashanti Bethea.

One six-year term is at stake on the HF Park District Board of Commissioners. Debbie Dennison is the only candidate for the seat.

Three candidates are running for four four-year positions as Flossmoor library trustees. They are Anne Thiros, Robert Bramlette and Kathleen Tisoncik.

Two six-year seats are open on the Homewood Public Library board but there is only one candidate. He is George Edward Bouchie Jr.

Three candidates are seeking two six-year seats in the Prairie State College district. They are Belinda James, Ronald J. “Ronnie” White, and Joelle Mulhearn, all Chicago Heights residents.

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Contact Tom Houlihan at [email protected]

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