Two incumbents and one political newcomer were elected to the Crystal Lake-based Community High School District 155 Board on Tuesday night, according to unofficial results. Late vote-by-mail ballots are yet to be counted.
Incumbents Adam Guss and Amy Blazier, along with Tom Vaclavek, each won a seat on the board Tuesday night during the consolidated election. They bested Meghan Tillson, Jacob Justen and Scott Coffey.
With 80 out of 80 precincts reporting and a total of 19,657 votes cast between the candidates, Blazier netted nearly 25% of the total, with 4,807 votes. She was followed by Vaclavek with about 19% and 3,818 votes. Guss won about 17%, with 3,320 votes. There were three open seats.
The three winners were endorsed by the District 155 Education Association.
“I want to thank the voters that came out to vote today. While our school district faces challenges, I stand firm in the belief that great schools and fiscal responsibility do not need to be mutually exclusive. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I am honored to do so and look forward to the next four years,” Vaclavek said in a statement.
Blazier and Guss, the current board president, couldn’t be reached for comment.
“During the past four years, I have encouraged improvements in the board’s transparency and the relationships between stakeholders in the district. I feel that continuing to honor the concerns and contributions of our community will keep the district on its path of academic excellence and fiscal responsibility,” Blazier wrote in response to a questionnaire from the Northwest Herald on her priorities if re-elected.
During a League of Women Voters of McHenry County forum in February, Guss said he’s committed to combating bullying.
“I think that we do an outstanding job with the bullying that we see and the bullying that we know about. We take care of that,” he said. “I think the real problem is the bullying that we don’t see. ... What we have to do is make sure that these kids know that there are supports in place for them.”
Meghan Tillson came in fourth place with about 16% of the total, or 3,099 votes. She was followed by Scott Coffey, who served on the Cary District 26 Board of Education, and Jacob Justen.
The winners differed from their opponents on issues relating to district administration and sustainability.
“My largest priority is implement changes that result in the Board of Education taking back control of the district,” Coffey said in in response to a questionnaire from the Northwest Herald on his priorities if elected. “It should be the board that should be in control whether its setting the strategic direction of the district, getting access to data, informing the public or even setting its own meeting schedule.”
Tillson, who has never run for elected office before, said it feels “pretty awesome” to garner the number of votes she did.
“I didn’t know what to expect with the incumbents and Mr. Vaclavek being supported by the [teachers’] union,” Tillson said. “I didn’t know if I had a shot. ... This past week, I had so many messages and emails of support that it renewed my spirit.”
When questioned if she would run again, Tillson replied: “It would have to be the right circumstance and if I felt strongly about it.”