Cape Girardeau School District patrons will have an opportunity Thursday to question school board candidates about their positions on finances and other education-related issues.
The Southeast Missouri League of Women Voters' annual forum will be at 7 p.m. in room 218 at the school board office. The forum will be moderated, with attendees submitting questions for candidates to answer.
Mary Wilhite, a member of the league, said the annual event allows candidates to see each other and articulate their opinions and ideas.
"It also gives the public a chance to ask questions and see candidates in operation," Wilhite said. "Sometimes candidates can sound good on paper, but have problems in public."
Cape Girardeau has seven candidates vying for two terms of three years each. The candidates in this year's election, which takes place April 6, are incumbent Dr. Martha Zlokovich, James McCausland, Tim Arbeiter, Steven Peel, Laura Sparkman, Debra Mitchell-Braxton and Creighton A. Gould.
Cape Girardeau superintendent Mark Bowles said such forums are essential in years with numerous candidates and issues such as financial cutbacks.
"The budget issue is one that's had such an impact on our services that the candidates' opinions of it is important," Bowles said. "That particular issue should help distinguish one candidate from another."
Eileen Steinberg, who helps coordinate the forums, said educating the public about elections and candidates is part of the league's purpose.
"The questions we usually have are about funding and issues like that. How to go about making up deficits and what would each candidate cut and add to the budget," Steinberg said.