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School candidates forum set for Thursday

The four candidates vying for an at-large School Committee position have been invited to a public forum Thursday evening at the Buttonwoods Community Center. The forum, hosted by the Warwick Beacon, will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The intent of this forum is to introduce the candidates to the community and to promote a discussion about Warwick Schools and their future. Running for the two seats are incumbent Patrick Maloney and Jennifer Townsend-Ahearn, Karen Bachus and David Testa.

Maloney has served on the School Committee since 2008 and is the father of three children in the Warwick public school system. Ahearn, a stay-at-home mom, has two children in the school system, and is an advocate for healthy school lunches and long-term education initiatives. Bachus, who works as a child protective investigator for the state, doesn’t haven any children but said she has a passion for education. Rounding out the pool of candidates is David Testa, who ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 seat in 2010. This year, Testa, a senior buyer with Perkins, Inc. and father of three children in the Warwick school system, said he plans to campaign outside the bounds of his district.

Student government presidents from each of the city’s three high schools have been invited to join Beacon reporter Kim Kalunian on the panel. The paper’s editor, John Howell, will serve as moderator and timer.

Panelists will ask candidates questions on an individual or collective basis, and candidate answers will be limited to two minutes. An effort will be made to foster a discussion about Warwick schools and the challenges they face rather than a strict back and forth between the panel and the candidates.

Candidates will also be allotted time for opening and closing statements. The audience is encouraged to meet and talk with the candidates at the close of the forum.


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