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School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March

School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March


All six Madison School Board candidates participated in a forum on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Karen Ball, left, finished third in the primary election for Seat 7 and is no longer in the race.

Voters will have several opportunities this month to hear from candidates for Madison School Board beginning this weekend.

The East Side Progressives will hold a forum Sunday, March 8, at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive. It’s the first of four forums currently planned for the month before the Tuesday, April 7, election.

In the two contested races, Wayne Strong is challenging incumbent Nicki Vander Meulen for Seat 7 and newcomers Chris Gomez Schmidt and Maia Pearson are facing off to take over Seat 6 from Kate Toews, who is not running for re-election. Savion Castro is running unopposed for a one-year term in Seat 2, to which he was appointed last summer after Mary Burke resigned from the board.

[Pearson, Gomez Schmidt advance to general election for Madison School Board Seat 6]

Each of the elections is at large, so any eligible voter can vote for all of the seats on the ballot.

The March 8 forum, which begins at 3 p.m., will feature candidates talking about their vision for meeting the district’s challenges followed by a “speed dating” format offering the chance to meet each candidate in a small-group setting, according to the Facebook event. All five candidates plan to attend.

March 17, the Cap Times will host a forum with questions asked of the five candidates by education reporter Scott Girard and Simpson Street Free Press managing editor Taylor Kilgore. That forum will begin at 7 p.m. in the East High School auditorium, 2222 E. Washington Ave.

[Cap Times Talk: Madison School Board candidate forum 2020]

Two days later, 100 Black Men of Madison will host a forum at Wright Middle School, 1717 Fish Hatchery Road, beginning at 6 p.m. Only the four candidates in contested races will be asked questions at this forum.

SSFP will host its own forum with all five candidates invited March 25 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Capital Newspapers building, 1901 Fish Hatchery Road. Questions will come from local reporters Girard, the Wisconsin State Journal’s Logan Wroge, Isthmus’ Jenny Peek and WISC-3 TV’s Amanda Quintana. Kilgore will moderate.

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Scott Girard is the local k-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group. Follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.

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