Mishawaka school board candidates sound off during forum

For the first time, Mishawaka residents will have a say in who will serve on the School City of Mishawaka Board of Trustees.

Until this year, all five members of the board were appointed.

The change comes after more than 4,000 residents voted in favor of a referendum for a partially-elected school board last November.

“I feel it gives us a chance to hold the school board accountable for their actions,” said Mishawaka resident Michael Norton.

Ten candidates are vying for two spots on the board.

Residents had a chance to ask them questions during a candidate forum Thursday night.

“I just want to hear what the candidates have to say and what their perspective is and what they can do for our school system,” said Mishawaka resident Diana Fowler.

Despite the large effort last year to change the makeup of the school board, not many people attended Thursday night’s event.

Most of the people in the audience were friends or family members of the candidates.

“The school board can decide almost anything that happens to a teacher, a student, an administrator, personnel,” said School City of Mishawaka teacher Rikki Thompson. “And, that so few people attend to know what their views are and what their plans are is very concerning.”

While some of the candidates have spent several years serving on the school board, others have students attending school in the district.

Eventually, three of the five board members will be elected.

Until last year’s vote, School City of Mishawaka was one of only 15 districts in Indiana with an appointed school board.

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