As Election Day nears, the four governing board candidates for the Kyrene School District met in Tempe for a community forum on Monday.

Current board members Michelle Hirsch, Ross Robb and Ellen Shamah joined fellow candidate John King in the hour-long forum as each candidate is vying for one of three available seats on the board.

Each mentioned funding and budget management as a top issue for the district, though the candidates took different perspectives of the topic and how they would resolve it.

Hirsch, the current governing board president, said funding allocation is “an obvious challenge,” but stayed hopeful that the district knows how to manage that challenge.

Shamah said a stable source of funding is the district’s biggest challenge that cuts programs and blocks the district from giving teachers fair salaries.

Robb added that while the school board doesn’t control how much money it is given, it does have “the responsibility to deliver the highest quality education” with what it does receive.

King, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident, also wants to look at budget management, adding that it needs to be done from the perspective of thinking smart.

As a feeder district, almost every candidate said they support this year’s proposed bond and overrides for the Tempe Union High School District.

The district is asking residents to vote in favor of a $75 million bond and a 15 percent override that would provide maintenance and operations funds to Ahwatukee and Tempe schools.

King said he remains on the fence for the issue of supporting the bond/override, mentioning an “interesting dichotomy between the Legislature and residents.

“The district is the glue that holds a community together,” King said. “It’s really important that we understand those dichotomies to deal with them directly.”

Early voting for the election begins Oct. 11 and registration will close on Oct. 9. Election Day is Nov. 6.

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