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Eleven candidates jumped into the race for the Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128 board on the first two days of filing, the most of any school district in the county so far.

The pool of candidates in that race — vying over four available seats — and a number of others could easily grow before filing closes on Dec. 21. Candidates often like to file at the beginning of the filing period to get their names at the top of the ballot.

Other districts with large candidate pools thus far include Lake Forest High School District 115 and Deerfield District 109, where eight candidates filed for four seats in each district by Tuesday. Seven candidates have filed for four seats on the Stevenson High School District 125 school board.

Driving the high candidate turnout in the April 6 election could be schools’ responses to the pandemic.

In September, for example, about 500 Libertyville and Vernon Hills parents, students and community members staged a rally at Cook Park in Libertyville to urge the school board to return students to in-person learning.

Sean Gay, who was first in line at 6 a.m. Monday to file at the Lake County Clerk’s office, said there’s a lot of frustration among District 128 parents right now.

“The parents by and large have been surveyed time and time again, and they want in-person learning,” Gay said.

In October, a group of about 100 Stevenson parents, students and community members rallied outside the school to put pressure on the school board to allow students to return to the classroom.

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Lake County Clerk Robin O’Connor said 135 candidates have applied so far among the 39 school board contests across the county. She said the total number of candidates this time could exceed the 218 candidates who filed to run for school board seats in the 2019 consolidated election.

O’Connor said she wouldn’t be surprised if many more candidates are just waiting to file their paperwork.

“We’ll get a lot more people in around 4 p.m. next Monday because people like to be the last ones on the ballot,” said O’Connor, referring to the deadline to file candidacy paperwork by the end of the day Dec. 21.

So far, the Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128 board race has nine challengers and two incumbents vying for four seats. Incumbents Don Carmichael and Kevin Huber have filed along with challengers Gay, Kathryn “Katy” Talerico, Chris Coughlin, Cara Benjamin, Sonal Kulkarni, Kara Drumke, Jim Connell, Dale J. Sherman and Julie A. Brua.

Four challengers and three incumbents have entered the race for seats on the Stevenson High School District 125 school board race. Incumbent board President Steven G. Frost and incumbent board members Gary Gorson and Fei Shang filed. Also in the hunt thus far are Nicole Grimes, Barb M. Tolbert, Robert Lewis and Lalit Jagtap.

This content was originally published here.