By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 14, 2017 at 3:15 PM

Four of the nine seats on the Milwaukee Board of School Directors are up for grabs on April 4, and there are two candidates vying for each.

To help voters get to know the candidates, Parents for Public Schools of Milwaukee hosts a candidate forum Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at MacDowell Montessori School at the Juneau campus, 6415 W. Mount Vernon Ave.

The program will also include a brief workshop on the proposed 2017-19 Wisconsin budget.

In District 4, Aisha Carr will challenge incumbent Annie Woodward; in District 5, incumbent Larry Miller faces Kahri Phelps Okoro; Tony Baez and Jonathan Zuniga are seeking the seat representing District 6, being vacated by Tati Joseph; and in District 7, Joey Balistreri and Paula Phillips are running for the seat currently occupied by Claire Zautke, who, like Joseph, was elected in 2013 and has declined to seek re-election.

"We can’t think of a more important way to celebrate ‘I Love My Public School’ week in Wisconsin than by meeting eight people who want to help shape policy and success for our district’s children," said PPS-MKE President Jennifer Hofschulte in a statement.

"We know that Milwaukee’s future is tied to the success of our public schools. Let’s see where the candidates agree, and don’t, on a way forward for Milwaukee Public Schools."

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and PPS-MKE says that candidates will respond to questions posed by PPS and audience members, "about the challenges facing Wisconsin’s largest school district, how parents can support and engage with the district, funding issues and more."

School board elections are held every two years for four-year terms. In 2015, voters re-elected Mark Sain (District 1), Michael Bonds (District 3) and Terry Falk (Member at large), and picked new directors in District 2 (Wendell Harris, replacing Jeff Spence) and District 8 (Carol Voss, replacing Meagan Holman).

Because no more than two candidates are running for any of the open seats, there is no need for a primary this time around. To learn more about the candidates – including links to their websites – click here.

To learn more about the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, click here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.