WHEATON – Incumbent board members Brad Paulsen and James Mathieson were re-elected to the Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 Board of Education, according to unofficial results from the April 4 election.
Paulsen and Mathieson are finishing their first terms on the board. Also elected to the board were newcomers Ginna Ericksen and Rob Hanlon. Eight candidates were running for four seats on the board.
According to unofficial results, Ericksen, with 7,756 votes, was the top vote-getter, followed by Paulsen with 7,455 votes, Mathieson with 7,057 votes and Hanlon with 6,295 votes.
Marcus Hamilton received 5,673 votes, followed by Harold Lonks with 5,446 votes, Neil Harnen with 5,416 votes and Thomas Hudock with 5,273 votes.
The eight candidates running were split in their support for a $132.5 million referendum on the April 4 ballot to pay for improvements to the district's facilities, including a new early learning center. The referendum was defeated.
Lonks, Hudock, Harnen and Hamilton were running as a slate against the referendum, while Paulsen, Mathieson, Hanlon and Ericksen supported the referendum.
The candidates gave their views on the referendum during a Wheaton League of Women Voters candidate forum March 20. Hanlon had said while he feels empathy for those feeling pressured because of tax increases, he said strong schools are needed to ensure property values don't fall.
"The value of our homes, while depressed by the real estate market, is fully bolstered by the reputation of our schools," Hanlon said. "Any erosion of that reputation is damaging to us."
Hamilton said the district needs to come up with a more "reasonable" plan to address its needs.
"There are definitely improvements that need to be made," he said. "Nobody's debating that... There needs to be a better plan, a more reasonable, rational plan that we can afford."
"We can't afford to keep on putting debt onto debt," he said.
Ericksen said the referendum will allow the district to get up to speed on improvements.