Democrats dominate Republican-leaning District 203's school board as elections draw near
Registered Democrats make up a majority of the local school board in a district where Republican voters make up a large majority of voters.
The district in question, New Trier School District 203, includes wealthy suburbs like Glencoe, Northfield, Winnetka, Kenilworth and Wilmette where district revenue from local property taxes has increased over the last five years from $89 million to $108 million, or by 23 percent.
The district’s school board is comprised of 10 members, six of whom are Democratic voters, two of whom are Republican voters and two who do not have a known party affiliation. Of the Democrats on the board, two are also employed by the district in administrative positions.
Board member Linda Yonke earns $419,380 as district superintendent; Christopher Johnson, assistant supervisor of finance who also serves on the board, earns $248,051. Both are registered Democrats.
Recently, the district’s high school organized a mandatory “white guilt” seminar which raised questions of political bias among the school’s administrators. The 82 percent Democrat party affiliation of those administrators closely correlates with that of the district’s board members but is at odds with the party breakdown among the overlapping New Trier Township's voters. They went 62 percent for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in the most recent election.
Democrats hope to maintain majorities on school boards in Republican districts like District 203 in the upcoming elections, scheduled April 4. These election results will determine who controls curriculum, union contracts and budgets funded by property taxes.
Elections for local school boards garner less interest and attention than presidential and congressional elections but may have a greater effect on the bottom line for the average taxpayer.