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4J School Board candidates agree on nearly everything - except who should be on the board

Candidates say the pertinent issues are too little funding and too many kids in the classroom. Photo by Audrey Weil.

EUGENE, Ore. -- The six candidates running for the Eugene 4J School Board discussed their ideas and answered questions at a town-hall style forum Monday night.

They all agreed on nearly every major topic of discussion; their only point of contention is who's the best person for the job.

There are three positions open on the board.

In Position 2, Maya Rabasa is challenging incumbent Anne Marie Levis.

Levis is running for her third term on the board and says she has the experience it takes: "My real passion is public education. I've brought that for eight years. I have the experience of being on the budget committee, the equity committee, audit and finance."

Rabasa says she wants to give power back to the parents and teachers: "We need to return to when parent voice had value and teacher expertise was prioritized over downtown centralized administrative expertise."

For Position 3, it's Mary Leighton, Jerry Rosiek and Judy Newman.

For them, it's not just about what's happening in Eugene.

Newman mentioned problems at the state capitol: "I've had many years of experience working with state legislators, with our education lobbyists and with our advocates in Salem and I think we can do better for kids."

And Rosiek discussed problems at the nation's capitol: "We need a candidate that can help activate Eugene's love for its public schools, has experience organizing communities to push back against problematic policies."

Overall, the central themes were too little funding and too many kids in the classroom.

"Money that you spend on reducing class sizes is money that you save on fixing the children that fall through the cracks when the class sizes are bigger," Leighton said.

For Position 6, Evangelina Sundgrenz is running unopposed.

She's chair of the budget committee.

She discussed the need for early childhood education and increasing graduation rates.

All of the positions are four year terms.

The election is May 16.

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