Be informed, be engaged

Thursday’s school board candidate forum demonstrated that the Marshalltown school district is fortunate to have five good candidates running for the four open seats up for election on Sept. 12.

All five candidates, incumbents Ben Fletcher, Mike Miller and Bea Niblock, along with newcomers Karina Hernández and Laura Eilers, shared their views on a number of topics ranging from open enrollment, year-round school, district pride, understanding the role of the school board and how to engage parents and district patrons.

But more importantly, all five candidates indicated they are committed to the district’s success and how it delivers a quality education to the students who live in the Marshalltown district.

That’s important, because the board establishes the framework and the guidelines in how the district operates.

Unfortunately, Thursday’s forum, sponsored by the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, only yielded about 20 patrons who listened to the candidates during the 90-minute event.

Perhaps it was the time of day that prevented more people from attending, but participation and being engaged is so important if we are to move the school district forward.

Because it’s not just about who is seeking election to the school board, it’s also about parents and district patrons sharing their views, getting involved, offering input into the decisions that will have a direct impact on the lives of the students who live in the Marshalltown district.

Another forum is planned for this Saturday — 10 a.m. at the Fisher Community Center, sponsored by the Marshalltown Education Association. Let’s hope that more people take the time to participate in this forum.

The five candidates will again share their perspectives and answers to a number of education-related questions so that voters will have a better idea of where they stand on the issues.

But we need to show up, ask questions, do our own research, find out more before we go to the polls on Sept. 12

The five candidates vying for school board are making a commitment in seeking elective office and investigating the best ways to deliver a quality education to the young people in our community.

The least we can do, as a community, is to hear from the candidates, ask questions and make the best decision possible as to who we want to lead our school board.


Jeff Hutton is the editor of the Times-Republican. He can be reached at 641-753-6611 or