Jeramey Jannene

Vote Tuesday for Milwaukee School Board

February 19th primary has one race: MPS board seat for south side & downtown district.

By - Feb 18th, 2019 05:06 pm
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Derek Beyer, Kathryn Gabor and Megan O'Halloran. Photos from the candidates.

Derek Beyer, Kathryn Gabor and Megan O’Halloran. Photos from the candidates.

Downtown residents and south siders, don’t let the lack of political commercials keep you away from the polls on February 19th. Tuesday’s non-partisan primary election features a single race for a Milwaukee Public Schools Board of Directors seat in a district that encompasses the city’s southeast side and a sizable chunk of Downtown. Three candidates are running and the top two vote-getters will advance to April’s general election.

If you live in the City of Milwaukee, but do not live in MPS’ District 8 your polling place will not be open on February 19th. Mark your calendar for the general election on Tuesday, April 2nd. The April ballot will feature races for a citywide MPS board seat and for four district seats. Municipal judges Derek Mosley and Phillip M. Chavez are running for re-election unopposed.

Not sure if you live in District 8? Use the My Vote Wisconsin website to see a sample ballot, confirm your registration status and find your polling place. A district map is also included at the end of this article.

The seat is currently held by Carol Voss, who is not running for re-election.

District 8 Candidates As They Describe Themselves:

Derek Beyer. Photo from Derek Beyer for MPS School Board.

Derek Beyer. Photo from Derek Beyer for MPS School Board.

Derek Beyer

As a former MTEA educator at Bay View High School, I used to give my student a “quote of the day” to think about. This one sums up my thoughts about the power public education can have in our young people’s lives. Milwaukee Public Schools faces a myriad of issues, but it is my opinion we have no choice as a community, but to think critically and intensively about how we can turn things around to better serve our children, who in turn will become the leaders of tomorrow in our city.

While I grew up in and around the Milwaukee area, my path to running for school board starts with my time in the military. During my four years from 2001-2005 I deployed four times. This experience had a profound impact on me and drove me to become a teacher. While as a teacher I used some of the skills I learned in the military to provide opportunities for my students like creating a public service club, coaching chess, raising funds for students to go to Washington DC, teaching GED02 after school, maintaining a standard in my classroom, as well as teaching Restorative Practices to young people. I made the difficult decision to leave for reasons so many of our educators do: large class sizes, the impacts of privatization on schools like Bay View HS, top down administration, data/test driven education and ACT 10. At heart I am still a teacher, but we need changes to come from above.

As school board director I would like to put a halt to privatization efforts in our district that I believe harm traditional public schools and create “winners and losers” within our system. We need all MPS schools to succeed. I believe in the traditional neighborhood school model and would like to tailor our public schools to needs and wants of the neighborhoods they are located in. We must increase school safety which drives staff, parents and students away from our district, while also addressing the real trauma many of our students carry into the classroom. I have this real world experience. I believe testing culture and data driven education is not truly improving student outcomes. I would like to see more trades, arts, service and extracurricular opportunities that truly engage our students. In our competitive district it is my belief we must commit real resources to fixing our nearly $1 billion in deferred maintenance to start attracting families back to MPS. I have ideas on how this can be done in a cash strapped district. Lastly, with all of these ideas we need to bring our educators, parents and students to the table as we make these decisions.

MPS faces serious challenges going forward including a structural budget deficit. We cannot afford to keep losing experienced staff and letting our schools fall into disrepair. These schools were built with pride and have seen rough times before. I believe it is our duty to fight for them and I intend to do that if elected.

Kathryn Gabor. Photo from Gabor for MPS School Board.

Kathryn Gabor. Photo from Gabor for MPS School Board.

Kathryn Gabor

As a parent, educator and advocate in MPS, I have had a unique opportunity to experience our school system through the lenses of varying perspectives. As a parent, I know we need an opportunity to have a parent voice in how our schools operate. As a teacher, I know what our teachers need in the classroom. As an advocate I have seen what it takes to affect changes in our MPS and I know we need board members who will listen and act. I want to take these perspectives and reconcile them to be an effective board member for District 8.

Megan O'Halloran. Photo from campaign Facebook Page.

Megan O’Halloran. Photo from campaign Facebook Page.

Megan O’Halloran

As a working mother who is invested in seeing our Milwaukee Public Schools succeed, I want to bring forward solutions that empower parents and create an infrastructure where every student has the resources they need to succeed.

District Map

District 8 Map. Image from MPS.

District 8 Map. Image from MPS.

Categories: Education, Politics

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