WEDNESDAY: Mostly sunny. High: 65. Winds: Southeast 5-10 mph.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Increasing clouds with a few showers -- mainly north of Springfield. Low: 45. Winds: Southeast 10-15 mph.
District 186 School Board Candidates' Forum
Candidates face the public nearly one month to the day before voters choose a new District 186 School Board. At the Hoogland Center Thursday night, the candidates appeared together for the first time to talk about the issues plaguing the cash-strapped district. In rising to the challenges ahead, they'll all have their work cut out for them.
Diversity, finances, and policy were all a part of the conversation. WMAY's Jim Leach moderated the event with candidates who come from backgrounds as diverse as the district they each want to represent. Incumbent Lisa Funderburg faces newcomer Teresa Jones in Sub-district 1. Incumbents Judy Johnson from Sub-district 6 and Scott McFarland from Sub-district 3 are running unopposed, as is local business owner Adam Lopez for Sub-district 2.
Current board president Susan White is facing longtime educator Mike Zimmers in Sub-district 4. Katharine Eastvold and Donna Moore both want to replace Candace Mueller, who isn't running for re-election in Sub-district 5. Voters in Sub-district 7 have the most options. Chuck Flamini, Gary Pierce, and Tom Shafer are all vying for the job.
"As business leaders in the community we understand how important it is to have a successful school system in order to grow economic development in our community and so we felt it was our opportunity to step in," Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Director of Workforce Mikal Sutton said.
Sutton also said the business community is watching. The reputation of our schools and the ability to meet the needs of our students is paramount. It's no secret finances are a huge concern for the district as state funding decreases each year and reserves are dwindling.
Election Day is April 9. This forum is the first of four. The candidates will be back together again on Thursday (March 14) for the next forum at Southeast High School. ABC Newschannel 20's Shantel Middleton and Vince DeMentri will moderate. It starts at 6 p.m.