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Candidates Prep For Board Forum
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Five candidates are in the running for two available school board seats in the Escalon Unified School District in November, and all five have confirmed their appearance in next week's Candidates Forum, with the League of Women Voters serving as facilitator.

"The forum is set for Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the high school," said April Adams, helping coordinate the event. "It's sponsored by the League of Women Voters in cooperation with the Dent Parent Teacher Organization, the El Portal Parents Club and the Van Allen Parents Club."

Incumbent Janai Stanton is facing competition for her seat from Martha Coelho and incumbent Diane Alcorn has two challengers in November, Amy Bavaro and Mark George.

The format has been set up in advance, with each candidate able to give a brief opening statement. Questions for the five will see each given 90 seconds to respond and each will receive the same questions, but rotated so the same candidate doesn't get the chance to answer each question first.

"We rarely have opponents (in school elections) and it's a good thing," Adams said. "It keeps everyone on their toes, keeps things interesting and fresh."

Adams said the forum is expected to run about an hour and a half, and she is urging all voters in the district to turn out to hear from the candidates themselves.

"There are a lot of items on the ballot, from our school board election to Measure B (school bond) to the tax propositions from the governor," she said. "This forum will help people educate themselves about who the best candidates are for our kids."

The League of Women Voters, with Adams and a couple of other parent-teacher group designees, have developed the questions for the evening.

All candidates have been informed of the format and will have time to prepare their opening statement, in which they can offer biographical information, share their philosophy, or just let the public know why they chose to run for the board.

Questions are not provided to the candidates in advance, so their answers will be impromptu on the evening of the forum. Following all the questions, candidates will also have the chance to offer a closing statement.

Moderator for the evening will be Vickie Markarian, from the League of Women Voters, San Joaquin County.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.