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Arlington Heights School District 25 board candidate faces questions over residency

Despite lingering questions about the residency of Arlington Heights District 25 School Board candidate Anisha Ismail Patel (pictured), she said Tuesday that she remained undeterred by what she called a boundary issue with Cook County. (Courtesy of Anisha Ismail Patel / HANDOUT)

As questions intensified on Election Day about her residency in Arlington Heights School District 25, district board candidate Anisha Ismail Patel spent Tuesday meeting with voters and vowed to continue her candidacy despite, what she called, a boundary and taxing issue with Cook County.

According to officials with the Cook County Clerk’s office, voter registration information indicates that Patel’s home in the 500 block of east Lincoln Street is located in Community Consolidated School District 59, not District 25.

While a candidate is required to live in a school district to serve on the board, Patel’s name remained on the ballot as local voters headed to polls on Tuesday, James Scalzitti, a spokesman for the Cook County Clerk’s office said in an email.

"At this stage there is nothing the Clerk’s office can do, as she is on the ballot and no one brought forth any objections to her candidacy during the objection period," Scalzitti said.

The last day to file objections to nomination petitions was Dec. 27, 2016, he said.

A first-time candidate, Patel is trying to secure a District 25 board seat Tuesday among a crowded field that includes incumbents Denise Glasgow, Erin Johannesen, Richard Olejniczak and David Page, along with first-time challengers Chris Salituro and Joseph P. Selbka.

Patel, 43, a longtime educator and former District 25 employee, said she and her family have lived in their home in the 500 block of east Lincoln Street since 2008, and have three children who attend District 25 elementary and middle schools.

Other families on her block have attended District 25 schools for more than two decades, she said. Patel said she is reaching out to Cook County to confirm that her family lives within District 25 boundaries.

Patel also said she would not be discouraged from her goal of joining the District 25 school board, if she wins Tuesday, despite the questions over her residency.

"I’m spending my day getting out the vote for my candidacy to the school board, and I’m going to keep going on Election Day," Patel said.

Adam Harris, a spokesman for District 25, said officials recently learned that there may be "a few homes within District 25’s boundaries that are coded as taxpayers for other districts."

The district is looking into the issue but school officials confirmed recently that the address for Patel’s home is one of the three on the 500 block of Lincoln Street technically outside of District 25 boundaries, Harris said.

"It was recently brought to our attention that three houses in the middle of a block along Lincoln Street are carved out and are not located within District 25 boundaries," Harris said. "Based on this unusual circumstance, the district is in the process of reviewing all of its boundaries with Cook County to determine if there are any other similar cut-outs."

At the Cook County Clerk’s office, election officials can only count the votes for the District 25 board election, like any other race, since they learned of the issue only recently, Scalzitti said.

"How to proceed, if she should win, would be up to the school district and possibly the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office," he said.

Twitter @kcullotta