In a tight race marred by political mudslinging, the school board candidates, win or lose, were relieved for the election to be over.
The largest percentage of votes went to Shannon Smigielski, a school bus driver from Hainesville who proposed that she would to be the voice of the people if elected.
"I'm honored and happy to have come out on top. I played it straight the whole way through. The facts speak for themselves," said Smigielski.
One of Smigielski's biggest supporters is Grayslake parent Erik Woehrmann. He had never met the candidate, but had heard about her determination to become involved.
"Out of the blue, I called her and asked what I could do to help. My wife and I distributed 100 flyers in our neighborhood and asked others to support Shannon's campaign. Voting is the one way you can directly affect the future of your children, the community and your taxes," said Woehrmann.
On board for her third four-year term, incumbent Sue Facklam carried the second largest percentage of the vote. "I'm motivated by the kids. I just have a passion for this school district," said Facklam.
Neighbor and Facklam supporter Lauri Steinhoff was glad to see the election over. "This has been an ugly race. I'm here for Sue. I have never seen someone so committed and so willing to do so much in a volunteer role," Steinhoff said.
Facklam's husband added that the election had been extremely difficult. "I have never seen such lying, cheating and stealing. We had to file a police report. The magnetic signs were taken off our car and multiple campaign signs were taken from people's homes," he said.
Fellow incumbent, Mary Garcia, was not re-elected. Garcia may have been negatively impacted by accusations of nepotism and inappropriate use of school e-mail for her campaign. "I'm just glad the election is over. It's been rough. I don't think I would have wanted the role of board president again. I was running to help keep the district on track as a teacher and parent," she said.
Running alongside fellow candidate Marchell Norris, retired school teacher Kip Evans may have benefitted by being the less vocal of the two. Evans came in third, just two percentage points behind Facklam.
Norris graciously conceded her candidacy. "The important thing is not if I won, but that the people of Grayslake voted and chose the candidates they felt could best do the job. I will add though that with only 10 percent of the community voting, it's hard to say that the majority of people took advantage of the gift we have in this country to exercise our opinion by voting," said Norris.
The next school board will take place tonight, Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at .