BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison Education Association hosted a Candidate Interview Forum Thursday night and is approving three out of seven candidates for the upcoming city / school general election on November 2.
AMDEC chose the three based on the answers to the questions that were provided to the candidates ahead of the forum and they side with current board member Brad Menke and two open candidates, Mio Santiago and Paul Wilkerson .
“We were looking for candidates who understand the issues that are important to our teachers and families locally. It would have been the number one thing. As a union, we are simply looking for candidates who are supportive of education locally and universally, ”said Cory Byrne, President of AMDEC.
He said the panel scored each candidate on the responses to a questionnaire that was provided several weeks before the forum.
“These three are the ones who, based on our questions, have shown that they understand the district, its needs, the positives and negatives, and have goals and plans for what our needs are,” Byrne said. .
The questionnaire consisted of six questions focusing on the main issues facing the district, the perception of the learning environment of the district, the perceptions of transparency and relations with the media, the framework contracts under the laws of the collective bargaining before 2017, living wages for support professionals, the impact of the pandemic and the use of state and federal relief packages.
In a statement on Friday, Byrne wrote on behalf of the union that he was impressed with the number of people willing to serve on the board.
“At a time when local school board meetings are making the news for the hostilities expressed by some, we appreciate that so many have stepped up to run for elected office. We are pleased to have school board candidates who are interested in a wide range of issues and who have ideas on how to improve and improve our educational community. The decisions made by the school board impact the educational experiences of thousands of students today and for decades to come, ”Byrne wrote.
He said the interviews were informative and revealing.
“They all had strengths and I’m not just saying that. It was a difficult decision for us, ”he said. “There were a few surprises in the way they presented themselves, but Mio has some great ideas that fit in with what’s important to the locals and Paul has a lot of pedagogical knowledge.”
The other four candidates are Brian Steffensmeier, David Allen, Aleena Garr and Jadi Zioui.
Fort Madison Partners will host another Candidate Forum Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall. The event is expected to be televised live in the Council Chamber.