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Pecatonica School District Democratic-funded education director Jill Underly beat former Brown Deer school director Deborah Kerr on Tuesday to become a state higher education official.

At 9:30 p.m. Underly had 372,228 points, while Kerr had 281,469.Approximately 66% of the district was reporting results, with missing ballots still counted.However, Underly declared victory and Kerr called her in the evening to concede.

Under will begin work in July as replacement for Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who was appointed as Superintendent by Tony Evers when he served as governor. Evers held the position for almost a decade.

“Wisconsin children and public schools face significant challenges as we strive to return to normalcy, keep all students aware of and support their mental health and well-being in the aftermath. Of this outbreak, including the trauma and disruption it has inflicted upon us all. “Under said.

“Overcoming these obstacles is not an easy task. But I know that if we work together, we can accomplish this and do what works for our children, ”she said.

Underly’s campaign, endorsed and heavily sponsored by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, spends seven times that of Kerr’s campaign.In addition, outside groups are spending nearly as much on advertising that Underly likes over Kerr’s favor. Quadruple

Spending levels – more than $ 1 million in ads alone – were record-breaking for the state park superintendent competition in Wisconsin.

Although the position is technically nonpartisan. But applicants were at odds over whether taxpayers’ money should go to an independent charter school and give students a voucher to attend a private school in a school selection program. Disagree with expanding these programs, while Kerr said she supports school selection.

Under endorsement by teacher unions, often opposed to vouchers due to lower funding for public schools.

Her campaign focuses on plans to expand early childhood education programs and diversify the education workforce, in part by reducing the pathway to getting teacher licenses and student loan forgiveness.

Kerr had the majority of support from the Conservatives. But it has also been endorsed by Democrats, including Sen. Lena Taylor and former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who supported the expansion of charter schools.

“Thank you for being there with me, my friends and the community who have been with me during the most prickly and challenging times of the times,” said Kerr, “and I am so grateful to the incredible supporters. Everyone who appeared in the expedition today and stands up for every child in Wisconsin. ”

Kerr said she called Underly to admit on Tuesday night.

“She fought really hard and now I hope you will be successful. Her success as our superintendent will mean success for our children, ”Kerr said.“ Our children always come first. ”

Major changes to the voucher program will require legal action. The new superintendent will write budget proposals for education funding and can issue advice on issues including epidemic safety, virtual learning, curriculum and teacher licenses.

In addition to growing outrage as Election Day approaches, Wisconsin political parties have filed an ethical complaint against each candidate.

Wisconsin Republicans argued that Underly should not use her Pecatonica County email address to request the park supervisor’s personal contact information, which she later used to discuss her election bid.

Days later, a complaint from the Wisconsin Democratic Party said Kerr should not use her neighborhood Brown Deer email address to talk about business for her new company Lead Greatly LLC.

Candidates also have significant conflicts about the future of the Superintendent and Department of Public Order positions. Kerr has offered to move or hire most of the more than 400 employees in the agency away from Madison and into offices across the state. It has been criticized for the plans to be disruptive and costly.

Kerr also said during the meeting that she was interested in having the superintendent of the park enter the cabinet position appointed by the governor rather than being elected. A spokesperson for her campaign later walked back, saying her response came out of frustration at the level of partisan funding in the race.

Contact Rory Linnane at rory.linnane@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @RoryLinnane.

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