With Councilwoman Barbara Ehardt and incumbent Mayor Rebecca Casper headed to a Dec. 5 runoff election, a class at Compass Academy has scheduled a debate for next week and is soliciting questions from the community.
The debate is the second Compass Academy has held in this election cycle. Its prior mayoral debate was widely praised, and it has held previous debates during the mayoral cycle four years ago and for the superintendent of public instruction four years ago.
“We were approached by several people in the community,” said Holly Dasher, one of the teachers helping students organize the debate. “We decided we would do another one.”
The new debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 in Compass Academy’s auditorium. Debate organizers have asked members of the community to submit topics and questions at tinyurl.com/IFrunoffdebate. Submissions will be accepted through Monday morning.
“Then the kids will start picking those apart and deciding what questions they’ll ask,” Dasher said. “…We want to be guided by the questions the community wants to ask. What’s left that the community needs to know?”
Dasher said the students will focus on questions that haven’t been asked before and questions that are in high demand from voters.
Dasher said the students organizing the debate come from the school’s senior class, specifically from a group that are working on projects combining a focus on government and English. Senior Jacob Rich will put the questions to Ehardt and Casper.
Dasher said, in addition to providing the community with important information on the candidates’ positions on city policy, the debates provide a unique educational opportunity for students.
“It teaches them about city government, which I think often gets ignored when teaching government, but it’s maybe the kind of government that touches them the most,” she said.
For those who can’t attend the debate in person, the debate will be live-streamed and archived on Compass Academy’s YouTube channel, CompassAcademyTV.
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.