With a new record for approving referendums, Wisconsin residents sent a strong message in 2018 that they support their public schools

Wisconsin residents made it very clear in 2018 that they stand behind their public schools and will do whatever it takes to support them. After years of state funding reductions by the Republican Legislature and the about-to-be-former Republican governor, voters went to the polls in droves to make up for the lack of state funding by approving a record number of local school referendums. According to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, voters this year signed off on a record $2 billion-plus in debt and revenue increases for local schools. The approval rate was 90 percent.

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Voters overwhelmingly pass school referendums totaling over $1 billion

Wisconsin voters on Tuesday sent a clear message that they strongly support their public schools, passing 19 of the 20 largest local school referendums on the ballot, totaling over $1 billion. Overall, voters statewide approved 77 of the 82 referendums, totaling $1.3 billion. “Voters came out in droves to support their public schools,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “They passed referendums to make up for what the governor and majority in the Legislature refused to fund, and they elected an educator to lead our state. This is a mandate to make education a priority again in Wisconsin.”

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Public education champion Tony Evers is Wisconsin’s new governor!

State Superintendent Tony Evers, a staunchly pro-public education Democrat, is Wisconsin’s new governor, defeating incumbent Republican Scott Walker, long known for his attacks on public schools and educators. Walker called Evers Wednesday afternoon to concede the race. WEAC President Ron Martin applauded WEAC members for their hard work in helping to elect Evers. “Today is filled with possibilities and opportunities, leading us to a better future,” Martin said. “This victory belongs to you. But more importantly, it belongs to our kids.”

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There’s only one education champion in Wisconsin’s race for governor, and that’s Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has taken to calling himself a “pro-education governor” — a laughable claim to educators in the state. Walker cut state funding for K-12 schools by $1.2 billion, has worked hard to expand the state’s private school voucher program that takes money away from public schools, stripped educators and other public workers of collective bargaining rights, and slashed university funding by $250 million. As State Superintendent, Tony Evers has proposed increasing public school funding by $1.4 billion, says he will freeze the school voucher program as a first step toward its eventual phase-out, strongly supports community schools that help meet the needs of students and families in the local community, and plans to place in statute requirements for teacher voice to be part of all education-related decision and policy-making initiatives.

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Evers vows to restore respect to the education profession in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Superintendent Tony Evers told educators from throughout the state Saturday that, as governor, he will not only provide Wisconsin public schools with the resources they need but he will make sure educators play a key role in determining education policy. “If I do anything in addition to providing more resources for our schools, we must ensure that we return the teachers’ voice at the forefront of the decisions in the state of Wisconsin,” Evers said in an address and rally at the WEAC Professional Issues Conference in Green Bay.

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Check out these great WEAC election resources

WEAC has created more election resources than ever before as we approach the critical November 6 election. We have our Elections Resource Page at weac.org/election, and have made it easy for you to find out who WEAC and NEA are recommending in your area, just by going to weac.org/vote. We’ve also created a document at weac.org/clerks with phone numbers of your local clerks so you can call them and find out when early voting hours are in your community. We’ve also created a document at weac.org/opportunities that lists ways you can get involved in the election. Finally, every day, we are gathering news articles and organizing them on our Politics and Elections Board at weac.org/election2018, to help you keep up with the latest news and developments.

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