Columbia NAACP to hold candidate forum Tuesday

Monday, March 21, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia City Council stipends, the Citizens Police Review Board and the achievement gap in education are expected to be topics at a candidate forum sponsored by the NAACP on Tuesday.

The forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Second Baptist Church, 407 E. Broadway. Nine city council and school board candidates have confirmed their attendance.

NAACP state and chapter president Mary Ratliff said candidates will have three minutes for opening statements, followed by a question and answer session and closing remarks. Questions will be submitted by audience members and filtered by moderator Virginia Law.

Infrastructure will be on the list of topics to be covered.

“We’re looking at how the neighborhoods are taken care of, how streets and roads are handled for low-income individuals,” Ratliff said. 

She hopes questions for the school board candidates address diversity in teacher recruitment and closing the achievement gap in education.

"I’m going to be particularly concerned about closing the achievement gap for African-Americans. We’re going to make sure those are students that participate in athletics and are educated so when they go on to college, they are able to compete and participate in extra-curricular activities," she said.

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