59 school referendums totaling nearly $1.2 billion are on April 2 ballot

On April 2, Wisconsin residents will vote on 59 school referendums totaling nearly $1.2 billion. That is on top of more than $2 billion in school referendums approved by voters last year, including $1.37 billion in November.

The largest referendums on the April ballot are $164 million for a new high school in Sun Prairie, $129.6 million for a new middle school and other upgrades in Neenah, $125 million for a new intermediate school and other upgrades in DeForest, and $91.5 million for maintenance and improvement projects in Fond du Lac.

Due to many years of stagnant state support for local schools, districts have increasingly turned to local voters for referendum approvals, and voters have overwhelmingly shown their support for public schools by passing them. Last year, more than 90 percent of 157 referendums passed, including 94 percent of 77 ballot questions in November.

In his state budget plan this week, Governor Tony Evers is proposing a $1.4 billion increase in K-12 education funding over the next two years.

Below is the complete list of school referendums on the April 2 ballot (click here to open):

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Washington Post says Walker’s assault on public education ‘could be coming back to bite him’

In an analysis of the Wisconsin governor’s race, the Washington Post says state residents are not buying Scott Walker’s ironic claim that he is the ‘education governor,’ and instead recognize that he has severely cut public school budgets and worked to undermine respect for educators.

“Though the election is still a few weeks away and anything can happen, (Democrat Tony) Evers has been leading in recent polls, and Walker’s efforts to recast himself as the ‘education governor’ don’t appear to have convinced his critics. His education ‘reform’ agenda could be coming back to bite him at a time when interest in supporting public education in Wisconsin seems to be growing among many residents at the local level,” the article states.

The article notes that Evers has been a teacher, principal and superintendent and is now in his third term as Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction.

Evers, it says, “has called for much more funding for public schools and has been critical of the state’s voucher programs, which use public money for private and religious school funding. He is seen as a threat by supporters of the ‘school choice’ movement.”

The article concludes: “Voters will soon decide whether Walker’s record is good enough to give him a third term, but if they decide against him, his education agenda will have played a big role.”

Read the entire article:

Analysis | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on public education could be coming back to bite him

This was the beginning of a July news story in the Capital Times in Madison, Wis., about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign for a third term as a Republican governor: When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker started branding himself “the pro-education governor,” one of his Democratic opponents said he “thought it was a joke from The Onion.”

Evers, Walker statistically tied in latest Marquette University Law School poll

With just four weeks to go until the November 6 election, the latest Marquette University Law School poll has incumbent Governor Scott Walker with 47 percent support among likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Democrat Tony Evers and 5 percent for Libertarian Phil Anderson. The results amount to a statistical tie. In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads Republican Leah Vukmir, 53 percent to 43 percent.

 

Election excitement, activism is high among educators in Wisconsin and throughout the nation

Wisconsin, Maine, and Minnesota are part of a movement following the educator-driven #RedForEd effort that has created a surge in political activism in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and North Dakota, according to an article on EducationVotes.org.

The article quotes WEAC President Ron Martin, who observes that educators are getting out the vote “with an unprecedented level of engagement.”

“It’s an excitement that is new and different, even surpassing our activism in recent governor and recall elections,” Martin says.

By supporting pro-education candidates like Tony Evers for governor and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, WEAC members and volunteers are helping to bring education issues to the forefront.

“The best thing we have going for us is that the public finally understands how their families, schools and communities are impacted by self-serving politicians and policies that hurt public schools and the middle class,” says Martin. “With 80 percent of voters saying they want funding restored to their neighborhood public schools, Wisconsinites know they have to go to the polls or risk four more years of bad leadership.”

Read the entire article:

Midterms loom large as educators seeking posts inspire high levels of activism – Education Votes

More than 500 educators are currently on the campaign trail leading up to midterm showdowns from Alaska to Maine that have transfixed the nation. Educator candidacies together with the drama surrounding this year’s #RedForEd protests against the neglect in state K-12 education budgets has produced a wave of political activism unlike the nation has seen in modern times.

Voters will decide 82 school referendum questions on November 6

Voters throughout the state will decide 82 school referendum questions in 61 school districts on November 6. The referendums seek a total of $1.4 billion in school improvements, including 11 to build new schools, 24 for safety and security improvements, 40 for site and building improvements, 28 for maintaining facilities and 12 for maintaining current educational program levels, according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report.

The large number of referendums continues a trend that has seen voters approve more than 1,600 referendums totaling $12 billion since 1990, a trend that has been accelerating in recent years. Voters already have approved about $648.1 million in referendums in 48 school districts this year, and approval rates have been rising since 2003, hitting 79% in 2016. Recent polls have supported the trend of citizens wanting to maintain quality public schools, with voters saying they favor tax increases over cuts to school funding.

State Superintendent Tony Evers, who is running for governor, has said voters are demonstrating their strong support for public education despite incumbent Governor Scott Walker’s record of cutting state funding for schools. In effect, he says, the referendums amount to a “Scott Walker tax” that citizens are imposing on themselves to keep their schools healthy.

The largest school district referendums on the November 6 ballot are:

  • Middleton-Cross Plains Area: $138.9 million
  • Wauwatosa: $124.9 million
  • Stevens Point: $75.9 million
  • West De Pere (2 questions): $74.7 million
  • Oak Creek–Franklin: $60.9 million
  • Waukesha: $60.0 million
  • Cedarburg: $59.8 million
  • Monona Grove: $57.0 million
  • Oregon: $44.9 million
  • Burlington: $43.7 million
  • Edgerton: $40.6 million
  • Pewaukee: $39.7 million
  • Viroqua: $36.8 million
  • Evansville: $34.0 million
  • Greendale: $33.8 million
  • Wisconsin Dells: $33.7 million
  • Poynette: $28.4 million
  • Beloit Turner: $26.5 million
  • Sevastopol: $25.1 million
  • Waterford Graded: $24.9 million
  • Holmen: $23.5 million

Find out details about all the school referendums at https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/referendum/customreporting.aspx:

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Wisconsin school referendums seek more than $1.4 billion in borrowing on November ballots

Wisconsin taxpayers will be asked to commit more than $1 billion in additional funding for their public schools in the November election. And if they pass at the rates seen in recent years, 2018 could be the highest year on record for dollars raised by school district referendums, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Evers leads Walker by 7 points in new poll; Baldwin leads Vukmir by 13

According to a new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics poll released on Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers leads incumbent Governor Scott Walker by seven points, 50-43, among likely voters. Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin holds a 13-point lead over Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir among likely voters in the same poll, with 52 percent of support to Vukmir’s 39 percent.

The new poll reinforces one released last week in which Evers led Walker by 5 points and Baldwin led Vukmir by 11 points.

In the latest poll, 49 percent of likely voters said they think Wisconsin is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 44 percent who said it’s on the right track.

WEAC members can find out more about this fall’s elections at weac.org/elections. Also, find out who WEAC and the NEA are recommending in your area by going to weac.org/vote.

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Reuters/Ipsos/UVA poll shows leads for Tony Evers, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate show strong leads among likely voters according to a new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics poll released on Wednesday. According to the poll, conducted Sept. 14-21, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers leads Walker by seven points among likely voters.

PBS News Hour: Education is at the heart of the Wisconsin race for governor

Education is front and center in the race for Wisconsin governor, and the PBS News Hour took a close look at the radically different approaches the two candidates – incumbent Scott Walker and State Superintendent Tony Evers – have on the subject. The report begins with Evers visiting a Milwaukee public school on the first day of school, while Walker is at a charter school in Waukesha.

Heather DuBois Bourenane, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, put it all in perspective, proudly displaying her T-shirt that says: “I Love My Public School and I Vote!”

“It’s about making sure that whomever gets elected is held accountable to the highest possible standard of doing the right things for kids in schools,” she says.

“Clearly, my lifelong journey has been all about public education and being a teacher and an administrator,” Evers says. “And, frankly, I have fought for our schools, instead of bringing them down.”

Watch the PBS News Hour report:

School concerns spur passions in Wisconsin governor’s race

In Wisconsin’s race for governor, 40 percent of voters say education is their first or second most important concern. The Republican incumbent, Gov. Scott Walker, is squaring off against the state’s longtime superintendent of schools, Tony Evers. Polls indicate the race is too close to call. Special correspondent Lisa Stark of Education Week reports.

WEAC Board recommends Evers for governor, Barnes for lieutenant governor and La Follette for secretary of state

The WEAC Board of Directors on Monday concurred with recommendations of the WEAC Political Action Committee and voted to recommend Tony Evers for Governor, Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor and Doug La Follette for secretary of state. The General Election is Tuesday, November 6.

In making these recommendations, the Political Action Committee said:

WEAC Recommendation for Governor:

Tony Evers

Dr. Tony Evers met with the WEAC PAC this morning, Wednesday, August 15, and answered the Committee’s questions in his most direct, engaging, and genuine manner. Dr. Evers’ authentic manner will do us proud as we engage the struggle to restore Wisconsin values to the Governor’s office.

Specifically, Dr. Evers will place in statute requirements for teacher voice to be part of all education-related decision and policy-making initiatives.

In addition, Dr. Evers will advance a state budget that restores the State’s commitment to two-thirds public education funding with weighting for poverty. Special education funding will also be increased to 60%, with a trajectory established to reach a 90% funding level.

Dr. Evers spoke forcefully about the need for voucher transparency and seeks to freeze the program as a first step for the eventual phase-out of this unregulated and ineffective program.

Lastly, Dr. Evers answered in a most forthright manner that he strongly supports:

  • Community Schools Initiatives
  • The WTCS system
  • The WRS retirement plan
  • Mental Health Services
  • Increased funding for Educational Support Professionals

WEAC Recommendation for Lieutenant Governor

Mandela Barnes

Mandela Barnes met with the WEAC PAC Wednesday, August 15, and answered the Committee’s questions in a very professional and succinct manner. At the same time, Mr. Barnes came across very sincere and determined in speaking about the four main issues he will address in this historic campaign:

  • Addressing health care costs and needs.
  • Funding and supporting our public schools.
  • Addressing our State’s environment and natural resource treasures by fully staffing the departments that have regulatory authority and, where appropriate, enforce penalties. In addition, Mr. Barnes will seek to expand renewable energy opportunities.
  • Building a truly robust State economy.

Mr. Barnes is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools and has always supported MTEA goals and initiatives. During Mr. Barnes’s legislative career, Mr. Barnes has earned WEAC support and is most proud of all you do.


WEAC Recommendation for Secretary of State

Doug La Follette

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette met with the WEAC PAC Wednesday afternoon, August 15, and answered the questions posed to him in a well informed and thorough manner. In answering the Committee’s questions, Mr. La Follette displayed great knowledge about our State.

Mr. La Follette has extensive knowledge about Wisconsin State government and indicates a belief in needing to partner with the State Treasurer. This partnership is critical in restoring the duties and responsibilities of these offices.

Lastly, Mr.La Follette shares our Wisconsin values and strongly supported public education and all of us during the Act 10 tragedy.

For more recommendations visit the WEAC Elections Page at weac.org/elections.

This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with WEAC members.

Evers to face Walker on November 6

Tony Evers

State Superintendent Tony Evers will face Scott Walker in the November 6 election for Wisconsin governor. Evers handily won the eight-candidate Democratic Primary election Tuesday. On the Republican side, Walker easily defeated little known Robert Meyer of Sun Prairie.

In an email to supporters after winning the nomination, Evers said:

“This race is a choice between 4 more years of Scott Walker putting Scott Walker first, or a new governor focused on making decisions in the best interest of real Wisconsin families — who deserve access to good healthcare, safe roads and high quality public education.”

In other races on Tuesday:

  • Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Rep. Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee will be paired with Evers as the lieutenant governor candidate. Incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was uncontested in the primary.
  • State Treasurer: Businesswoman Sarah Godlewski, who was recommended by the WEAC Board, won the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer. The Republican candidate will be Travis Hartwig.
  • Secretary of State: Incumbent Doug La Follette won the Democratic nomination. Republican businessman Jay Schroeder will challenge La Follette in November.
  • U.S. Senate: Republican State Senator Leah Vukmir of Brookfield advanced to take on Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in November.

Read about other Primary Election results:

Election results: Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area August 2018 primary election

Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area residents head to the polls on August 14 to vote in a number of contested state and local primary races. Here’s who’s on the ballot.

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Democrat Caleb Frostman wins Senate District 1 seat

Caleb Frostman

WEAC-recommended candidate Caleb Frostman won election to Senate District 1 in a special election Tuesday. His victory attracted national attention because Frostman, a Democrat, won in a district that went for Donald Trump by more than 17 points two years ago and for Scott Walker by 23 points in 2014. The district has been held by Republicans for over 40 years. Frostman will replace Republican Frank Lasee who resigned to take a job in the Walker administration. Frostman’s victory reduces the Republican majority in the Senate to 18-15. In recommending Frostman, of Sturgeon Bay, WEAC noted that he:

  • Supports investments in our public schools and technical colleges.
  • Advocates for affordable healthcare and childcare for Wisconsin workers.
  • Is a product of Wisconsin’s public schools and universities.
  • Is former Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, with experience in commercial real estate finance.

WEAC-recommended candidate Ann Groves Lloyd of Lodi lost in her bid for the Assembly District 42 seat in the June 12 special election. Because both these were special elections, the seats will be up for election again in November.