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Springfield Education Association Endorses School Board Candidates
District 186 school board members are gearing up for elections.
The Springfield Education Association released their candidate endorsements. One of them is an opponent of the school board president.
"It's probably because my years of service within the district," school board candidate Mike Zimmers said.
He is running against the now president, Susan White, for the District Four seat.
The association released a statement saying they feel Zimmers and five others have the necessary experience to take 186 to the next level.
"I've worked at all 36 schools in my tenure in the district and so I know every school," Zimmers said. "I know all the administrators in the buildings and most of the teachers."
Having 34 years of experience in District 186 is what he believes got him the endorsement. Susan White said she's not thrown off by the backing, since she didn't receive it during the last election.
"There's a difference in just having the support of teachers and having the support of the union," White said. "I had lots of teachers that supported me in my last campaign and have teachers that are supporting me in my current campaign."
White recently received criticism from the public for not saying anything about Dr. Walter Milton leaving the district during the budget crisis. She said it was in her best interest to keep quiet on the situation.
"I understand why that's frustrating to the community," White said. "The superintendent is our employee and Illinois law requires that an employer not disclose confidential information about an employee."
Both White and her opponent want to put aside the issues the district is facing and focus on educating the students.
"Be optimistic about our future, and be optimistic that District 186 is a very strong school system," White said.
"This is a fantastic school district, and we have outstanding teachers here, and I'd be proud to represent them," Zimmers said.
Among the other endorsements were school board members Lisa Fudnerburg and Scott McFarland.
Zimmers said the race is not personal. He has wanted to be a board member since he retired last June.
Later this month, we'll sit down with the candidates for a forum at Southeast High School. The event will be open to the public. Stay tuned to ABC Newschannel 20 and WICS.com for more information.
Election Day is April 9.