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Akron Board of Education candidates debate in closely watched race

Signage for the Akron Public Schools
Ideastream Public Media
Ideastream Public Media
The Akron Public Schools Board of Education is filling three seats.

The Akron Public Schools system has faced its fair share of challenges in recent years. Lagging academic achievement among students, along with chronic absenteeism, and behavioral issues stemming from the pandemic have all been concerns.

The Akron Public Schools Board of Education also recently clashed with former Superintendent Christine Fowler-Mack, who left the job after less than two years.

Now, voters in Akron are preparing to fill three seats on that board, with eight candidates running. The race to fill those seats is being closely watched because of the recent history of the Akron Board of Education.

Those candidates recently sat down for a debate and discussed issues ranging from how to improve academic scores among the students to how to instill more trust in the school board itself.

The debate was organized by the Akron Press Club and the Akron Beacon Journal.

The candidates took questions from Beacon Journal editor Michael Shearer and two local journalists: Cheryl Powell, managing editor of the Beacon Journal and Conor Morris, education reporter and producer at Ideastream Public Media.

- Barbara Sykes, Ohio House of Representatives
- Patrick Bravo, Former Akron Board of Education President
- Rene Molenaur, Current Akron Board of Education Member
- Gwen Bryant, Education Professional
- Summer Hall, Community Outreach Liason, City of Akron
- Keith Mills, Intervention Specialist, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
- Phil Montgomery, Director of Finance and Budget, Summit County
- Myron Lewis, Retired Chemical Dependency Counselor

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.