ELECTION RESULTS: Primary election could cause shake-ups in school board leadership for many local districts

Numerous school districts could soon see changes to their board leadership in south-central Wisconsin following Tuesday’s Spring Primary Election.
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 8:39 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2022 at 6:03 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Numerous school districts could soon see changes to their board leadership in south central Wisconsin following Tuesday’s Spring Primary Election.

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In Dane County, there are races in Lodi, Columbus, Barneveld, Mt. Horeb, and New Glarus school districts. Other districts having races Tuesday include Tri-County, Platteville, Fort Atkinson and Beloit.

UW-Whitewater Professor Richard Haven said arguments over masking and COVID-19 precautions in schools placed many school board members in the spotlight over the past couple of years.

“School boards have always been a place of personal interest because they’re involved with the care of children. So it’s surprising that we see a lot of interest in school boards today, but the pandemic has accelerated that,” Haven said.

Other hot topics at school board meetings in recent years include transgender students in sports and teaching concepts such as critical race theory.

“You’ll see some candidates refer to bias education, that they need to change the system to eliminate bias education. So we’re going to see codewords like that, but it reflects this kind of national message that’s seeping into the local issues,” Haven said.

All of this could mean some shake-ups in school board leadership, with some local races seeing higher-than-normal competition on the ballot.

“When you have a primary that’s telling you in the school district races that there are people who are dissatisfied with the way things are and they’re looking for change. So I thought it interesting, Mt Horeb kind of stands out, they have 11 candidates for 3 seats,” Haven said.

The polls for the Spring Primary close at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

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