School board candidate forum is Wednesday

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Daily News-Miner community perspective, Sunday, September 24, 2017

Election season is ramping up, and a number of organizations are hosting candidate forums.

On Wednesday evening, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly chambers will be abuzz with activity as the Young Professionals Council and League of Women Voters’ school board candidate forum gets underway at 6 p.m. This will be the only forum where the public can get to know the eight candidates vying for three seats on the school board before they are elected Oct. 3 to serve three-year terms.

During the past few years, YPC has hosted a variety of nonpartisan candidate forums to raise awareness of the importance of local elections. During recent YPC planning meetings it became apparent that hosting a school board forum would fill a gap in the community and provide important information for residents. YPC is collaborating on this event with the League of Women Voters because of their expertise in organizing successful candidate forums. YPC is grateful for league members’ contributions and suggestions during planning.

Everyone — students, school administrators and staff, community members and business people — depends on school boards to lead and make sound decisions. This is why it’s critical that voters get to know the people who are running for those seats. The success or failure of our local school board directly affects the success or failure of our school district. Here are the school board candidates: Seat E — Mat Wade, Tim Doran, Chrya Sanderson and Michael Kenna; Seat F — Deborah Rinio and Sean Patrick Rice; Seat G — Wendy Dominique and Jodi Rhoades.

The Fairbanks school district is one of our community’s largest employers, which means many economic decisions will rest on the shoulders of our elected school board members. For example, board members are responsible for being good stewards of taxpayers’ money and are tasked with managing the budget wisely.

School board members are accountable not only to the district but also to our entire community. The success of Fairbanks and our school district is intertwined. Parents want their children to attend school in places where they have the best chances for academic success. Teachers and administrators want to work in a stellar district that pays well and offers family friendly workplaces. Businesses want to operate in areas with good schools.

YPC is compiling questions to ask the candidates during the forum. We want to make sure the candidates are being asked the questions that matter most to local parents and teachers and would appreciate the community’s participation. You can submit questions to bit.ly/2xlV55d.

Mark your calendars now and join us Wednesday for the school board candidate forum. Take part in the democratic process of voting locally, because strong schools contribute to strong communities. Please contact Becca Brado, YPC director, at fairbanksypc@gmail.com or 452-2185 with any questions or to volunteer on the Candidate Forum Planning Committee.

And if you’re a young adult (no particular age limit) who’s interested in contributing to the betterment of Interior Alaska, participating in community service activities or making new friends, consider joining the Young Professionals Council. YPC is a project of Fairbanks Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating jobs and economic opportunities in the Interior.

YPC accomplishes its mission of empowering young leaders through community involvement, professional development, and networking opportunities. YPC offers young adults opportunities to have fun together while discussing important issues, volunteering in the community and gaining leadership experience by helping to plan events. Please visit www.fairbanksypc.com to learn more about YPC.

Becca Brado is a project manager for Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. and director of the Young Professionals Council.