Candidates running to represent voters on the Santa Maria-Bonita School District board of education met Friday night at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley to talk about issues facing the district, from student and parent engagement to educational services. All four candidates vying for the two districtwide seats on the school board — incumbents Vedamarie Alvarez-Flores and Ricky Lara, and challengers Abraham Melendrez and Gary Michaels — participated in the forum, giving them an opportunity to speak to more than two dozen audience members and supporters in attendance.

Organized by the Santa Maria Valley League of Women Voters and co-sponsored by the Santa Maria Times, the forums provide district voters an opportunity to learn about each candidate before heading to the polls on Nov. 6. The forum was also co-sponsored the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Fund for Santa Barbara and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley.