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4 candidates vying for 3 seats on Alden-Hebron School District 19 Board

Diplomas sit on a table ready to be given to graduates during the 2013 commencement ceremony at Alden-Hebron High School in Hebron.
Diplomas sit on a table ready to be given to graduates during the 2013 commencement ceremony at Alden-Hebron High School in Hebron.

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Alden-Hebron School District 19 Board.

The consolidated election is April 2.

One two-year term is open, and incumbent Penny Smith is running unopposed to retain the seat. Three four-year terms also are open, and four people are running.

Those candidates are Kate Johnson and incumbents Kenneth Winkelman, Johnny Eskridge and Michael Norton. Norton is the current board president, and Winkelman is vice president.

Johnson is a volunteer and co-secretary of the Alden-Hebron Elementary PTO. She is a mother and dairy farmer. Johnson plans to host a meet-and-greet from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Hebron Public Library, 9908 St. Albans St.

She said she was inspired to run for the position because she has four young children in the district and wanted to be more involved.

"The district is fiscally healthy. We have an active and engaged community," she said. "Those are the positives. We have to decide what we want to do moving forward."

Norton is finishing his first four-year term and has been board president for the past two years.

The new board must grapple with the outcome of a referendum on the ballot that will allow voters to decide whether the district should issue $20.3 million in bonds to build a new school for middle school and high school students.

"If it's favorable, we will move forward with the building and plans," Norton said. "And if it's not, we will have to regroup, rethink and retool what to do to move forward. ... We keep striving for excellence for students. Build off of what we have with the community and take it from there."

Winkelman has been on the board for eight years.

"I am running again because I feel our school is such an integral part of our community," he said. "The biggest issue facing Alden-Hebron over the next term will be the need for a new school."

The district's most recent enrollment is 415 students, which included 218 preschool and elementary students, 83 middle school students and 112 high school students, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. Middle and high school students share a building.

Eskridge could not be reached for comment.

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