NORTH READING — For the first time in many years, the annual Town Election on Tuesday, May 3 features a five-way contested race for two open three-year terms on the School Committee.

To help inform the electorate of the vision each candidate has for the office of School Committee member and the skills and experience they possess, the North Reading Transcript is presenting a nonpartisan Candidate Forum Night moderated by Editor Emeritus of the Transcript, Bob Turosz, with questions presented by North Reading’s youngest voters, next Wednesday, April 13 from 7-8:30 p.m.

The Candidate Forum will be aired to a live, at-home audience via NORCAM on Comcast Channel 22, Verizon FiOS TV Channel 24, and streaming on NORCAM’s website via the link:

While there will not be a “live” audience in the Distance Learning Lab at NRHS during the Forum, each candidate has been invited to bring a family member along for support. The Forum will also be available for replay on NORCAM’s delivery platforms.

In addition, those candidates seeking uncontested seats for Select Board, Community Planning Commission, Housing Authority and Town Moderator have been invited to provide a “candidate statement,” maximum of two minutes in length, during the Forum which can include any information the candidate feels will help voters make their decision on Election Day.

Those candidates for contested seats will have the additional opportunity to answer questions that have been submitted by local residents. These questions will be reviewed and refined by the Transcript editor, Maureen Doherty, and the young voters. Each candidate will respond to the same set of questions, which will not be provided to them in advance.

During the Candidate Forum, the questions will be presented by a panel of 18-year-olds, representing the town’s newest and youngest voters. This event will provide the students with a valuable learning experience in civics and show them how their engagement and vote matters. It will model civil discourse and the free exchange of ideas, showing an example of the democratic process that will be instructive to the community as a whole.

In addition to answering questions, each School Committee candidate will be allowed a 60-second introduction prior to the beginning of the Q&A, and a two-minute summary of their candidacy at the end of questioning.

Bob Turosz has over four decades of experience reporting on the town’s politics during his tenure at the Transcript from the mid-1970s to his retirement in 2016. He also has experience reporting on and participating in many Candidate Forums previously run by the League of Women Voters and subsequent organizations in town after the League stopped running them.

The School Committee candidates, in alphabetical order, are: John P. Barrette, 2 Dogwood Ln.; Jodi Cloney, 365 Park St.; Jeffrey L. Friedman, 51 Lindor Rd.; Kristen M. Omara, 5 Damon St.; and Noelle Rudloff, 29 Duane Dr.

The candidates for the uncontested offices on the ballot are: Select Board incumbents Liane R. Gonzalez, 4 Clover Rd., and Richard F. Wallner, 57 Lakeside Blvd.; Community Planning Commission incumbents Warren R. Pearce Jr., 219 Haverhill St., and David Rudloff, 29 Duane Dr.; incumbent Town Moderator John J. Murphy, 13 Duane Dr.; Housing Authority incumbent Michele Mawn, 5 John Bickford Way; and Housing Authority newcomer Sherri Greer, 8 Voke St.