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Campaigns to fill two seats on the Collier County School Board began in earnest on Thursday evening when the Southwest Florida Citizens Alliance hosted the first of several educational forums to give residents an opportunity to hear candidates weigh in on the issues facing the school system.

Three of the six candidates appeared before voters at the Presbyterian Church on Marco Island.

John Brunner, Lee Dixon and Louise Penta fielded questions before an almost-full house at the church.

Missing were candidates Stephanie Lucarelli, Gene Ungarean and Erick Carter.

Moderated by Keith Flaugh, the forum consisted of questions from Jane Watt, founder of the Marco Island Academy, Kyle Ginther a student at the Academy, and Jared Grifoni, a local businessman and radio show talk host.

All three candidates focused on conservative values and the need to increase accountability within the system -- and a return to a basic approach to education and not just test results.

“This was a great turnout for our first event and we are very pleased,” said Flaugh, as residents filed out of the church hall around at the close of the forum.

Read more about the forum in the Thursday, April 21, print edition of the Marco Island Sun Times.

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