Votes line up by school in District 86

Winning candidates sweep Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills, others fare better in South area

The four Hinsdale High School District 86 candidates who won the April 6 election were the top vote-getters in every precinct in their shared hometown of Hinsdale.

According to unofficial election results. Peggy James, Debbie Levinthal, Terri Walker and Jeff Waters also won all eight precincts in Clarendon Hills, five precincts scattered among Oak Brook, Burr Ridge, unincorporated DuPage County and Westmont, and the Cook County portion of Hinsdale (Cook County precinct breakouts were not available at press time).

In the Hinsdale South attendance area, the results looked much different.

Incumbents TJ Edwards and Kevin Camden, along with newcomers Jason Baron and Mark Pinnow, comprised the top four in 16 out of the 88 DuPage precincts. Edwards and Pinnow together placed in the top four in 33 precincts. Edwards, Camden and Baron all live in the South attendance area. Pinnow, a Willowbrook resident, lives in the Central attendance area.

Pinnow said he was not surprised Central voters supported James, Levinthal, Walker and Waters.

“The four candidates that won were four people who had a lot of visibility within the Central community, both from their community involvement or within the different school districts,” he said. “They are also the ones that campaigned the hardest.”

Once the newcomers are seated on May 3, current board member Cynthia Hanson will be the sole representative from the Hinsdale South attendance area.

“I know people that are just concerned that such a large voice is coming from one side of the district,” Edwards said last week in discussing election results.

“It’s unfortunate because I think we had an opportunity throughout this process to do our best as candidates to eliminate some of that discord and anxiety that exists for the community — even myself,” she continued. “I don’t know if we did enough.”

Pinnow, who lives in the former buffer zone and whose sons attend South, said he did not see a huge divide between the two attendance areas during the campaign.

“The vast majority of people I talked to were looking at the issues from a D86 perspective, not a Central or South perspective,” he said.

Concerns about math and science curriculum changes, for example, existed throughout the district, with some believing they hurt South more and others thinking they hurt Central more.

“People are concerned when they feel that choices and things are taken away from kids in the district, whether that be on the South side or the Central side,” Pinnow said.

Edwards said she’s confident the newly elected board members will represent the entire district, as they will pledge to do when they are sworn in.

James assured residents they will.

“We were elected to represent all 4,000 students in this school district regardless of geographic location,” James said. “I don’t think of any of us as a Central board member or a South board member. We are D86 board members.”

She said the key will be to listen to residents from both buildings and the Transition Center, as she tried to do throughout the campaign.

Levinthal and Walker both said they, too, interacted with people from across the district during their candidacies.

“We worked very hard to engage with voters throughout the community and constituents throughout the community, and that is going to continue to be our focus and goal,” Walker said. “It shouldn’t matter where people live.”

Levinthal said her primary objective is to provide all students the supports and tools they need.

“I think that is the guiding light — what do we need to do to make sure our learners are granted and afforded all the opportunities they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do post-high school?” she said.