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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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. 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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Labor leader Phil Neuenfeldt dies

A great leader of the Wisconsin labor movement, Phil Neuenfeldt, has died. Neuenfeldt, president emeritus of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, died in his home November 4. “Phil Neuenfeldt stood side-by-side with WEAC members during our most tumultuous struggles, always insisting that whether in the public or private sector, union brothers and sisters stand together,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “As Phil would expect, those of us who mourn his passing will carry on to advance solidarity in Wisconsin.”

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Spotlight on Locals: Bayfield Education Association

“The reason for our strong participation is that people see the BEA as a collective teacher voice for the district, and our voice is focused on kids, families, and our community. We want to make our school district the best place it can be.” That is how former Bayfield Education Association President Rick Erickson – also a former Wisconsin Teacher of the Year – sums up the BEA’s success as a local association. Rick spoke with WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen for her latest Spotlight on Locals column. “We’re all part of a community,” adds current BEA President Eric Iverson, “and we stick together.”

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