Candidates talk shop at forum

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

More than 60 people showed up for the KRFY, Sandpoint Online and Sandpoint Reader school board candidate’s forum, the final forum prior to the May 16 election.

The two-hour event gave residents a final chance to weigh the differences between the six candidates: Richard Miller and Gary Suppiger for Zone 2, Victoria Zeischegg and Lonnie Williams for Zone 3 and Anita Perry and Cary Kelly for Zone 5. The forum covered far more topics than we have space for here, but voters can watch the entire forum at Sandpoint Online’s Facebook page:

The candidates showed near unanimous support for increasing post-high school vocational and technical training in North Idaho. They also largely agreed that more money does not necessarily translate to better schools, although they differed on how to utilize the money available to the district.

On the other hand, the question of whether or not candidates supported the $17 million March levy was a dividing topic, with Suppiger, Williams and Kelly saying they supported it and Miller, Zeischegg and Perry saying they did not vote for it due to the increase from the previous $15.8 million levy.

On the subject of class sizes, Zeischegg agreed that younger students should have access to small classrooms, but larger class sizes could work for older students in certain subjects. Williams said his goal was to strive for small class sizes, a goal Suppiger said he shared. Miller said small class sizes were important for young students, but ultimately, teachers had the best understanding of manageable classroom environments. Kelly largely agreed with keeping class sizes small, while Perry said that there were many variables to consider, with small sizes being the rule of thumb for young children and larger class sizes working for older kids, especially those bound for college and its large-scale lectures.

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