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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 51.0° F  Fair
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Coverage of the Madison school board elections in 2008
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Just because they're uncontested, you shouldn't overlook the two races for the Madison school board on the April 1 ballot.

There isn't a tougher job or a more important one in local politics than maintaining the high quality of the Madison schools and dealing with the serious problems that confront them.

Over the past five weeks, we've queried retired teacher Marj Passman, the lone candidate for Seat 6, and attorney Ed Hughes, the lone candidate for Seat 7, on the important issues.

Here's the week-by-week breakdown of our questions:

  • Week 1: How their background prepares them for the school board; their assessment of retiring School Supt. Art Rainwater; and their favorite book or movie about teaching.

  • Week 2: How they view charter schools; advice for the new superintendent; how a teacher changed the life of one of their children.

  • Week 3: Their take on the school district's and the teachers union's handling of accused sex offender Anthony Hirsch; school boundary changes; and the naming of the new west-side school.

  • Week 4: How they feel about military recruitment in the high schools; school taxes and a new spending referendum; and their sage advice to parents.

  • Week 5: What to do about the achievement gap; four-year-old kindergarten; and their nomination for an overlooked school issue.

For an overview of the two retiring Madison school board members, Lawrie Kobza and Carol Carstensen, see Jason Shepard's story in which he also offers perspective on Passman and Hughes. Shepard provides more insight into the Madison schools with his profile of veteran teachers union leader John Matthews, who is easily the most influential labor leader in Dane County.

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