Wendell Harris
Press Release

Wendell Harris Files Nomination Papers for Milwaukee Public Schools’ Board of Directors

Mr. Harris will face incumbent Director, Jeff Spence, in the Primary and General elections on February 17 and April 7, respectively.

By - Jan 7th, 2015 03:23 am

MILWAUKEE, WI – Boosted by the support of more than 500 Milwaukee voters who signed his nomination papers in the past three weeks, Wendell Harris yesterday afternoon turned in more than 25% in excess of the necessary signatures to run for the MPS Board.  Mr. Harris will face incumbent Director, Jeff Spence, in the Primary and General elections on February 17 and April 7, respectively.  Recent events, including a possible state-led effort to take control of significant portions of Milwaukee’s schools, prompted Mr. Harris to seek the seat for the 2nd District on December 15. This left him with two fewer weeks than the usual time allotted to circulate nomination papers.

“Milwaukee’s schools are our city’s future. I will fight to make sure that control stays with the people of Milwaukee and not in the hands of Scott Walker and the suburban legislative leadership,” said Mr. Harris. “I am also committed to giving our children a true environment for learning instead of a barrage of testing. We need to teach more and test less,” he added.

An additional concern for Mr. Harris is the fact that hundreds of MPS employees make less than a living wage.  “I find it deeply troubling that the District treats so poorly the people that do some of the most vital work keeping our kids healthy and safe while fostering an environment for learning. My opponent had a chance to make a change and has failed to do so,” said Mr. Harris.

Last November, as Committee Chairperson, Mr. Spence  called the Board into “closed session”, turning his back on the more than one hundred lower wage workers who had shown up to testify and hear the debate. The result has been months of inaction, leaving MPS to employ thousands of educators and support personnel at poverty wages.

Mr. Harris was born in Arkansas, served in the Air Force, and worked for A.O. Smith for 30 years, where he was on the Executive Board of Smith Steelworkers, DALU 19806, AFL-CIO for eight years.  He retired after the company was sold in 1998 and has since been involved in numerous community efforts to combat crime and drug abuse in the city of Milwaukee.  Mr. Harris also serves as first Vice-Chair of the Wisconsin NAACP.  He and his wife, Rozalia, reside in the Enderis Park Neighborhood of Milwaukee’s North-west Side. The 2nd District covers a large part of the North and West Sides from near Timmerman Field to the much of the Washington Heights and Sherman Park Neighborhoods.  Approximately 75,000 people reside in the District and there are 20 MPS schools, including German and French Immersion Schools, Craig Montessori and the Milwaukee School of Languages.

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