With a robust slate of candidates vying for seats on the Urbana City Schools Board of Education, the Urbana Daily Citizen and Urbana University have teamed up to allow the public to meet and learn about them.
The newspaper and the university will host a public forum at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Sara Landess Room in the campus Student Center.
All candidates for Urbana school board are invited to attend and state their platforms. Each was invited by U.S. postal service delivered letter and each has been asked to RSVP attendance plans to the newspaper. Questions from the audience will be accepted after the candidates’ platform statements are delivered. Audience members will be provided pens and index cards for submitting questions to the forum moderators, who will present them to the candidates.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Candidates who cannot attend are invited to send their platform statements to the newspaper for the moderators to read at the forum. These statements can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Candidates who have questions about the forum are welcome to call Urbana Daily Citizen Managing Editor Brenda Burns at 937-508-2301 or 937-652-1331 ext. 1771.
Candidates for school board span two ballot slots and four seats on the board. Nine people are vying for three seats: Tim Lacy, James B. Arter, Amy Shaloo Paul, Alyssa Dunham, John Birkhimer, Darrell Thomas, Jeffrey M. Hepp, Nicole Blair and Elizabeth DeWitt. The term for these seats expires Dec. 31, 2021.
Candidates Laura J. Reed and Sarah J. Finch will compete for an open seat, with an unexpired term that ends Dec. 31, 2019. This seat was held by Warren Stevens, who passed away from injuries in a motor vehicle accident in 2016 while serving on the board.
Dr. Christopher Washington, Urbana University’s executive vice president and provost, is pleased the university can provide a venue for the community event.
“Our democracy shouldn’t be taken for granted. It requires participation from an intelligent electorate,” Washington said. “This event helps showcase Urbana University as an entity with the capability to bring issues before citizens on an unbiased basis and provide them tools for decision making. Since the role of UU is education, we are pleased to host a forum for educational purposes.
“There are 11 candidates, so this cannot be the only way they get their message to citizens. But it can be a great introduction to the candidates in their positions,” Washington added.
The Urbana Daily Citizen will cover the forum with a story and photos to detail the candidates’ positions as expressed during the forum.
“This is a crucial time for leadership and growth in the Urbana City Schools system. New facility construction, technology adaptations and curriculum development are all vital to the community’s success,” Burns said. “We hope this opportunity for personal interaction between the voters and the candidates will result in strong leadership and community participation now and in the future.”
The deadline is Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. for letters to the editor about the Nov. 7 election. Letters can be emailed to email@example.com and should be limited to 100 words. Letters that exceed the word limit may be reduced to comply with editorial guidelines.