The field for Harrisburg school board is crowded, making it important for voters to learn about the candidates running in the May primary election.
To the end, Power Central PA, a local interfaith group, plans two debates this week. The first will take place on Thursday, April 18, at the House of Music, Arts and Culture (HMAC) in Midtown, and the second is slated for Saturday, April 20, at Choice Community Christian Church on Allison Hill.
Both HMAC and Choice Community Christian Church are listed as co-sponsors of their respective events.
For school board, 12 Democratic candidates are running for five, four-year seats. They include four current school board directors, Lionel Gonzalez, Lola Lawson, Ellis R. Roy and Patricia Whitehead-Myers, and eight challengers, Jayne Buchwach, Lewis Butts Jr., Ralph Rodriguez, James Thompson, Doug Thompson Leader, Gerald Welch, Cory X. Williams and Steven Williams.
No one filed to run in the Republican primary.
Brandon Flood, the newly appointed secretary of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, has signed on to moderate both debates, according to Carrie Fowler, a current school board director. The debates are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. with a meet and greet and refreshments, with the actual forum/debate starting at 7 p.m.
HMAC is located 1110 N. 3rd St. in Harrisburg and Choice Community Christian Church is located at 1524 Walnut St., Harrisburg.
The primary is slated for May 21.
In other school district news, the school board is slated to meet tonight in its regular monthly session, with the appointment of a new district solicitor on the agenda.
During the board’s March meeting, a shouting match broke out over the issue, which was eventually tabled. Tonight, the board is expected to re-consider whether to appoint James Ellison, a former school board solicitor and long-time political operative in the city.