By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN — The public got their first chance to meet several of the candidates vying for seats on the Dearborn Public School Board of Education at a forum Sept. 30.
The forum was conducted by the League of Women Voters of Dearborn-Dearborn Heights and held at the DPS Administrative Servicer Center, 18700 Audette.
Eleven candidates are running for the three available spots, which cover both the DPS and Henry Ford College, and are six-year terms.
Ten of the 11 candidates running — Michelle Audia, Rodger Bartles, Mariam Bazzi, Nofila Haidar, Mary Anne Hering, Kenneth Jannot Jr., Ghinwah Karkaba, Michael Meade, Christopher Robert Paulsen and Mary K. Petlichkoff — participated in the forum.
Candidate Ahmed Harara did not participate.
“This is a very important general election and the effects will really have an impact close to home,” LWV-DDH President Betsy Cushman said. “It’s important for the public to have a chance to meet the school board candidates and hear their opinions and feelings on different district questions.”
Candidates responded to questions from the LWV and from the audience, such as why they are running, how the district can improve services to students with a language barrier and whether they support the Common Core standards for measuring academic progress.
Dearborn resident Sandra Nader said that she learned more information about the candidates from the forum and felt that the most important issues facing the schools were asked by the panel and audience.
“I thought it was very good,” Nader said. “There are a lot of good candidates running and they answered some very difficult questions.”
DPS filmed the forum and Communications Director David Mustonen said that the footage will be available online soon.
The spots are being made available by the retirements of longtime Trustees Pamela Adams and James Schoolmaster, and the decision not to run by current Board President Hussein Berry, who ran for the state House of Representatives 9th District seat but was defeated by incumbent Harvey Santana (D) in the August primary election.
Schoolmaster is serving his fourth term on the board and Adams has been on the board since 1996.
Berry is serving in his first term.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)