- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The field of three candidates running for superintendent of Wisconsin’s public schools will be narrowed to two in Tuesday’s primary. Here are some questions and answers about the race.

THERE’S A PRIMARY? Yes, just over three months since the presidential election there’s another election in Wisconsin. The primary for state superintendent of schools is the only statewide race on the ballot Tuesday. Numerous local races and referendums are to be decided as well.

WHO’S RUNNING? Incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers is being challenged by John Humphries, a former Dodgeville school district administrator turned consultant, and Lowell Holtz, a former superintendent in Whitnall and Beloit and the 1999 elementary teacher of the year. Racine high school math teacher Rick Melcher is running as a write-in candidate.

WHERE DO THEY STAND? Evers is a two-term incumbent who is backed by Democrats and public school advocates. He opposes expansion of the private school voucher program, supports the Common Core curriculum and argues for increasing funding to help struggling schools, particularly in urban areas. Humphries and Holtz are both school choice backers who want to overturn Common Core. Humphries has also called for creation of a state school board, which Holtz and Evers oppose. Humphries also wants to overhaul the state report card and create a way for low-performing schools to be reorganized into charter or private voucher schools. Holtz is calling for better discipline in schools to make classrooms more safe and secure. He also wants to increase local control and empower teachers.

WHAT ABOUT THIS DEAL? Humphries alleged that Holtz offered him a $150,000 state job and broad powers to run the state’s largest school districts if he dropped out of the race. Holtz said they were discussing ideas put forward by unnamed businesspeople, but no agreement was made. Humphries said he rejected the alleged deal as ludicrous.

WHO SUPPORTS THEM? Evers is backed by the Wisconsin School Administrators Alliance, the American Federation of Teachers and the Wisconsin Education Association Council. Humphries’ campaign is co-chaired by Republican state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, and Democratic state Rep. Jason Fields, a supporter of the school choice program. Republican Sen. Luther Olsen, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, backs Evers. Holtz has the support of Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Action and two dozen Republican lawmakers.

WHEN CAN I VOTE? Polls are open statewide 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Valid photo identification is required.

WILL I HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE TO VOTE? Unlikely. The state Elections Commission, in a break with tradition, didn’t make a turnout prediction. But in the past three primaries for state schools superintendent, turnout was less than 6 percent of the voting-age population.

WHAT’S NEXT? The two highest vote-getters will advance to the April 4 general election. Outside forces, particularly pro-voucher groups, are expected to become more active between now and then.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP and find more of his work at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/scott-bauer

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