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There are many, many unusual elements of school law, and school board elections are among them.

On April 2 five candidates will vie for four available spots on Mattoon's school board. The unusual thing about this election is that the race really exists only between Ashli Overton and Heidi Larson. The law requires that school boards represent a cross section of a district's population. Since two members from Lafayette Township are currently seated, only one more may be selected this time. Although both candidates are excellent choices, I support the incumbent, Ashli Overton, for the remaining seat for Lafayette Township.

Ashli has served with me on the board of education for over three years and understands, approves, and fully participates in the vision that the district holds for students. She is a huge proponent of providing preschool for all children because she believes children enrolled in their early years have greater opportunities to graduate high school and continue their education into the work force; and her voting record confirms it.

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She is invested in offering programs based on students' aptitudes and interests, and has participated in discovery workshops directing our district toward a modern system of competency based education. Always mindful of diverse learning styles, Ashli consistently approves increasing dual credit classes in partnership with Lake Land College, and vocational offerings at Mattoon High School.

The past three years has brought the current board of education a few heartbreaks and many successes. Ashli has played a huge part in recovery and celebration of both. I am pleased to be her colleague, proud to be her friend, and I urge you to support our current efforts by voting for Ashli Overton on April 2.

-- Susan Ohm (Smith) Braun, Mattoon

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