Six of the seven candidates for state superintendent faced off in the second online forum, with a focus on funding issues faced by public schools across the state, ahead of a Feb. 16 primary.
Underly, Pecatonica district administrator, said she would focus on building and maintaining relationships with federal and state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. She also said she would use the office of state superintendent to advocate for public schools and spotlight inequities that exist because of COVID-19 or the “broken” school funding system.
“Having good relationships with our congressional delegation is important. Having a great relationship with our state legislators is important,” she said. “We all want the same things and so we need to work together. … We have to communicate what our problems are and how they can be fixed and bring everybody on board because we all want the same thing, which is high-quality schools.”
The state superintendent position oversees the Department of Public Instruction, which has broad powers in managing Wisconsin’s public school system. The seat is open for the first time in more than a decade after Gov. Tony Evers, who won statewide elections to head the agency for three consecutive four-year terms, assumed Wisconsin’s highest office.
Current state Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor was appointed by Evers in January 2019 after he won the 2018 governor’s race. She decided not to seek election this year.
The top two vote-getters in the Feb. 16 primary face off in the April 6 election for a four-year term.