DANVILLE — Voters have a chance to meet the Danville school board candidates and learn more about them at three candidates' forums, starting this week.
Nine people are running for four open seats on the board in the April 9 election. They include incumbents Randal Ashton, Dan Brown, Greg Hilleary and Frank Young and newcomers Johnnie Carey, Darlene Halloran, Lon Henderson, Phyllis Roth and David Woodrow.
The winners will serve a four-year term. Here is a link to questionnaires they filled out for The News-Gazette .
Two forums are being sponsored by the district and the Danville Education Association.
They will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and on April 2 at the board room in the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville.
Superintendent Mark Denman said the forums are being held there so that they can be recorded and aired several times in the following weeks on Comcast's local cable station, Channel 5.
The public is invited to attend. However, Denman said, seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Those forums will be facilitated by the Danville High School social studies department. Ted Houpt, the division leader, said government teachers Scott Burgess and Jeremy Smith have been working with students on developing questions for the candidates for the past few weeks.
"They're working on questions that they think would provide the community with the information they need to make the best decision," Houpt said, adding the questions will focus on three topics — school funding, student learning and community outreach involvement.
He also said students have gained a deeper understanding of the board's role through the process.
Under the format of the first forum, students will introduce the candidates. Then candidates will have two minutes to answer randomly-drawn questions with each candidate having a chance to answer a question from each of the three categories, Houpt said. Finally, candidates will have a chance to make a closing statement.
Houpt said the students and teachers are still working on the format of the second forum.
"That will be a little less formal," he said, adding they're still deciding whether there will be a question-and-answer center from the audience.
Another forum, called "Failure is Not an Option," is being sponsored by the Danville Caucus Inc. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon March 23 at the Antioch Family Life Center, 311 N. Collett St.
It will be moderated, and all questions will be developed prior to the event.