Voters in Woodstock School District 200 might find the ballot for the April 4 election to be something of a puzzle. It’s true — it’s possible for a person in the four-seat race to be elected to the board even if he or she doesn’t finish in the top four.
The Board of Education’s rules are straightforward: no more than three people may be elected to the board from any single township. District 200, which covers 110 square miles, includes at least parts of Dorr, McHenry, Nunda, Greenwood, Hartland and Seneca townships.
The maximum number of candidates from each township who can be elected to the seven-member District 200 Board of Education varies from election to election depending on who is already seated. (Terms on the school board are staggered, so members don’t all face re-election at the same time.)
In the upcoming election, no more than three candidates may be seated from Dorr, McHenry, Nunda or Hartland townships; no more than two may come from Seneca Township; and no more than one may come from Greenwood Township.
(There are no candidates running from McHenry, Nunda or Hartland townships, making restrictions on those areas inconsequential.)
Ten people are running for four spots on the school board. Dorr Township, restricted to no more than three members, has seven candidates — incumbents William Nattress and Carl Gilmore, John Parisi, Barbara Gessert, Karen Kockler, Bruce Farris and Jill Ferrarini. Seneca Township, restricted to no more than two members, has only one candidate, Susan Handelsman. Greenwood Township, restricted to no more than one member, has two candidates, Suzann Schroeder and Jacob Homuth.
If, for instance, all four top vote-getters were to come from Dorr Township, the fourth-place candidate from Dorr would be dropped for the highest finisher from either Seneca or Greenwood townships. (Remember, Dorr is restricted to a maximum of three members in this election.) Likewise, if both candidates from Greenwood Township were to finish in the top four, Greenwood’s lowest finisher would not be seated because only one person may be elected from that township.
Unlike many bodies that divvy up representation based on location — think wards in an aldermanic system of city government — voters in District 200 can select from the full slate of candidates, not just those who come from their townships. That means no matter where District 200 voters live, they’ll receive the same ballot listing the same 10 candidates.