As the November election draws near, a number of forums and debates have been planned to help Carroll County voters distinguish among the four candidates vying for two school board seats.
During the primary campaign, a ballot of 22 candidates was whittled to four - Lisa Breslin of Westminster, Thomas G. Hiltz of Woodbine, Susan Holt of Sykesville and Stephen M. Nevin of Finksburg.
The vote Nov. 7 will determine who will fill the seats vacated by school board members Ann M. Ballard and Joseph D. Mish Jr., who are not seeking re-election.
A list of the scheduled candidate exchanges:
On Thursday, the Carroll County Education Association will hold a candidate forum at Westminster High School on Washington Road in Westminster. The forum is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and is open only to members of the teacher's union.
On Oct. 2, the PTAs for the North Carroll-area schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. at North Carroll High on Panther Drive in Hampstead. The candidates will speak, and a question-and-answer session will follow.
On Oct. 9, the Carroll County Council of PTAs will hold a debate for the four candidates at 7 p.m. in the first-floor meeting room of the Board of Education building on North Court Street in Westminster.
As the umbrella group for the county's PTAs, the council includes 21 PTA presidents, county principals and delegates to some schools as voting members.
On Oct. 10, the PTOs of Robert Moton and Friendship Valley elementary schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. at Robert Moton on Washington Road in Westminster.
On Oct. 12, the PTAs of Mechanicsville and Sandymount elementary schools will hold a forum at 7 p.m. in the gym of Mechanicsville Elementary on Sykesville Road in Sykesville. In an event that's billed as one part candidate forum and one part civics lesson, candidates will be asked 15 questions culled from the schools' PTA members and the fifth-grade classes.
On Oct. 16, the Carroll County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will hold a forum with the school board candidates as well as with 6th District Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett and his Democratic opponent, Donald M. DeArmon, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Senior Center on Stoner Avenue in Westminster.
On Oct. 19, the League of Women Voters will hold a forum with the school board candidates as well as with Bartlett and DeArmon. The Bartlett-DeArmon debate is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., with the school board candidates at 8 p.m. The forum will be held in Eldersburg. A location has not been set.