Local school board candidates compete for several open seats

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- There are four open seats on the Eau Claire Area School Board coming up this April.

Tuesday night, candidates who think they have what it takes to be the voice of the district participated in a forum.

Only six of the seven candidates looking to take one of the four school board seats were at Tuesday night’s forum. They spoke to students and parents looking for answers to the biggest issues the school district faces, including school safety.

“I think it's important as parents, myself, to see where they stand on school safety,” said Shannyn Pinkert, the chairman for the Parent Advisory Council. “Do they view our school district as being a safe one or are there gaps or things that need to enact to make it safer for our students?”

With seven people competing for four open seats, the Parent Advisory Council decided to turn its March meeting into a forum with help from North and Memorial student councils.

“It’s important to get students involved because it only affects the kids,” said Ryan Cramer, the student representative of the Eau Claire Area School Board, as well as the treasurer for North High School. “Its student issues with all the kids here. Every decision they make affects us all somehow.”

The forum, held at North High School, allowed each candidate about two and a half minutes per question regarding some of the biggest issues facing the school district.

“Some of the biggest issues right now are innovation, school choice and keeping a student voice in schools,” Cramer said.

“Roles within the board, how they're going to look at adversity within the school district, and also take a look at diversity within the school district,” Pinkert added.

In light of recent incidents, safety was a highlighted question among the forum, noting the current school board is working on drafting a letter on the topic within the district.

Overall, organizers said they hope this opportunity will help make marking ballots on April 3rd a bit easier.

“There are seven people and four seats, and there's quite a few of them that have already served on the board and there's some new faces,” Pinkert said. “It's a nice way to mix to see what past experiences are going to bring and what new faces are going to bring.”

The seven school board candidates include Lori Bica, Joshua Clements, Laurie Klinkhammer, Joe Luginbill, Tim Nordin, John Plewa, and Eric Torres.

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting another candidate forum on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Chippewa Valley Technical College in the Business Education Center.

The spring election is coming up April 3rd.

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