In the News

GOP-funded school board campaigns oust incumbents in red areas, fall flat in others

Republicans battling for school board seats celebrated big wins in Waukesha and other conservative districts Tuesday night, while falling short in Mequon and bluer pockets of the state. State and local Republican parties reported far outspending Democratic parties in the school board elections, investing over $70,000 in campaigns statewide, including over $30,000 in Waukesha County. For candidates, aligning with parties also helped court voters through partisan meet-and-greets, voter guides, group ads and endorsements ...

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GOP-backed school board candidates win in Milwaukee suburbs

Republican-backed candidates in local school board races came out as big winners in the Milwaukee suburbs that are critical for the Wisconsin GOP in statewide elections, but they had mixed results in other parts of the presidential battleground state. The school board elections Tuesday in Wisconsin were among the earliest nationwide this year and are the latest sign of how politicized typically nonpartisan races for local offices are becoming across the country. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican candidate for governor, took the unusual step of endorsing 48 school board candidates. Of those, 34 won including eight incumbents, based on preliminary results. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, a former teacher, school administrator and state superintendent, did not endorse in any race ...

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From school boards to statehouses, conservative Moms for Liberty push to grow influence

Last month, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds surrounded herself with members of the conservative parents-rights group Moms for Liberty when she signed a bill that outlawed transgender students from playing girls’ sports. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis invited a member of the group to stand alongside him weeks later as he signed a bill that allows parents more say in public school teaching materials. Just over a year ago, Moms for Liberty formed with a few parents upset over their school districts' COVID-19 mask mandates and raced-based equity initiatives. The group has since grown in size and influence, capturing the attention of Republican officials who recognize it has become a fulcrum for culture war issues that dovetail with education ...

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Paul Buzzell, Jason Levash elected to Mequon-Thiensville School Board

Two challengers have won seats on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board in the April 5 election. Paul Buzzell received the most votes with 4,717 (29.30%), while Jason Levash took second with 4,511 votes (28.02%) to take the seats on the board. Jill Chromy was third with 3,474 votes (21.58%) and Scarlett Johnson was fourth with 3,373 votes (20.95%). There were 26 write-in votes. 16,101 total votes were cast ...

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Buzzell, Levash prevail in Mequon-Thiensville School Board race

Former School Board member Paul Buzzell and CESA 6 COO Jason Levash were voted onto the Mequon-Thiensville School Board Tuesday, surpassing challengers Jill Chromy and Scarlett Johnson. Buzzell and Levash will replace current incumbents Akram Khan and Chris Schultz, who are both stepping down from the board. Khan and Schultz were both the subjects of a recall election last November in which a group of parents unhappy with the district’s COVID protocols and declining test scores tried to unseat four board members ...

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Elementary school attendance boundaries in the Mequon-Thiensville School District will shift next year, moving 120 students

After the Mequon-Thiensville School District shifted attendance boundaries, 120 elementary school students will attend different schools next year. The change will move 95 students who live east of the Milwaukee River in the current Wilson Elementary School area to Donges Bay Elementary School and 25 students who live north of Highland Road in the current Wilson Elementary are to Oriole Lane Elementary School, according to notes from the March 28 meeting. The change will take affect for the 2022-23 school year. Shifting school attendance area boundaries is a result of a $55.7 million referendum approved in April 2020. As part of those projects, additions are being done at all of the district's elementary schools to address projected enrollment growth. Those projects are expected to be completed this summer. The shift is part of ensuring that the schools can function within their new student capacities for next school year, according to a district presentation ...

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What Increasingly Partisan and Venomous Wisconsin School Board Races Reveal About American Elections

About a month ago, three conservative candidates for school board seats in the west Wisconsin city of Eau Claire stoked controversy about a teacher training program that they claimed could exclude parents from conversations about their children’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Right-leaning groups across the country seized on the issue, portraying it as another example of schools usurping the role of parents. A few weeks later, the school board president received a death threat. “I am going to kill you and shoot up your next school-board meeting for promoting the horrific, radical transgender agenda,” an anonymous email read ...

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Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, running for a third term, expects education issues to motivate voters in the fall

School board races across Wisconsin will be decided at the polls next week, but Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Friday that he expects issues on education to continue to motivate voters in the fall. "I stand with parents and parental rights," said Johnson, who is running for a third term. Johnson convened a listening session on education issues as speakers criticized mask mandates, the use of critical race theory, and a perceived over-reliance on technology in the classroom. Altoona School Board member Hillarie Roth who is running in the Republican primary for the 68th District Assembly seat, lamented "woke culture that is raging through our society today." "Our children are struggling, but are they struggling because of our supposed 'bad parenting' as some educators and school districts would have you believe? " Roth said in her statement. "Or are they struggling because of the constant barrage of political correctness and shame that is being slammed down their throats at every turn? Shame for being born white, shame for having opportunities, shame for having Christian values." ...

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Republicans inject more than $70,000 into Wisconsin school board races in divisive election season

Wisconsin’s state and county Republican parties have invested more than $70,000 in candidates for school board elections around the state, while Democratic party spending fell under $10,000, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis of finance reports filed with the state. School board candidates are on the ballot April 5 in nearly every district, excluding Milwaukee, where board members were elected last year. The heavy party involvement comes as leading Republican candidate for governor Rebecca Kleefisch touts education issues at the top of her platform, riding a national wave of conservative backlash over COVID precautions, specialized supports for LGBT students and students of color, and curriculum that addresses race, gender and sexual orientation ...

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County Republicans have poured thousands of dollars into the campaigns of three Waukesha School Board candidates

Party politics have increasingly wormed their way into traditionally nonpartisan elections, and nowhere is that more apparent than the 2022 Waukesha School Board race. The three-seat race has from the beginning had a partisan edge when three conservative candidates filed among eight total for the April 5 election. Shortly after the election filings period closed in January, a form of active campaigning began by conservative leaders associated with the Republican Party of Waukesha County for those candidates: Mark Borowski, Karrie Kozlowski and Marquell Moorer ...

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MTSD boundary shifts will send about 95 students to different school next year

Sixty families will be affected by a newly adopted plan to change the boundaries of the Mequon-Thiensville School District’s three elementary schools. A unanimous decision of the School Board Monday will move approximately 95 students from Wilson Elementary School to Donges Bay and Oriole Lane Elementary Schools in order to equalize populations across the three schools, more evenly distribute elementary student populations based on new school capacities, create more consistent student experiences in accessing district programming and support services and create more consistent sizes of grade-level cohorts in each building. The decision came at the recommendation of a 21-member Elementary School Boundary Task Force ...

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The cost of the recall

In recent weeks, MTSD School Board candidates Scarlett Johnson and Jill Chromy have neglected to mention that the failed recall attempt, which they both actively supported and participated in, is diverting district budget away from the educational experience of our children to the tune of an estimated $58,000. Nor do these candidates acknowledge that MTSD is one of only three of Wisconsin’s 421 public school districts to hold the top Aaa ranking from Moody’s bond rating agency, denoting continued excellence in fiscal strength and performance. This rating is based, in part, on the general good health of the district’s finances ...

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Support Buzzell, Lavash for MTSD School Board

We are writing in support of Paul Buzzell and Jason Lavash in the upcoming Mequon-Thiensville School Board election. We are longtime residents of Thiensville who are thankful to have landed here, where we were able to raise our daughters in a supportive environment and where they could attend outstanding schools. We’ve always known the M-T School Board to be attentive to the needs of all our students and to be supportive of faculty and administrators, who provide a high-quality educational experience and give all students in the district the opportunity to excel. There continues to be an impressive number of students who are being accepted at a wide variety of colleges and universities, so it is clear they are getting a top-notch education in the MT schools ...

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Buzzell, Levash best candidates for MTSD School Board

Year after year, the Mequon-Thiensville School District is recognized as a top Wisconsin school district, and recent data supports our district’s continued strong standing. Last fall, the MTSD once again achieved “Significantly Exceeds Expectations” on the annual Department of Public Instruction-issued District Report Cards. The MTSD ranked second to all other K-12 public school districts serving enrollment above 3,500 students ...

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Thank you, MTSD!

Recently, I heard a teacher talking about fairness. As all children do, her students sometimes complain that things are not fair. She told them a version of this story. Imagine that you hurt your elbow, Jonny, because you tripped on your shoelace. And you, Suzie, hurt your knee playing soccer, and it’s a bigger cut than what Jonny has. And you, Julia, fell off your skateboard and cut your forehead open. And you, Brian, have a bump on your head. You all need help ...

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Cedarburg School Board selects Mequon-Thiensville's Jeridon Clark as the district's next superintendent

Jeridon Clark has been named the Cedarburg School District's next superintendent, according to a news release from the district. The School Board is expected to approve Clark's contract at a special meeting March 28. Clark, who is currently the Mequon-Thiensville School District's assistant superintendent of educational services, was one of two finalists for the position ...

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Homestead High School student wins Wisconsin Journalism Education Association Journalist of the Year award

A Mequon student has been named the 2022 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year by the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association. Annie Brown, a senior at Homestead High School, received the honor, which comes with a $1,000 scholarship. As the state winner, the materials she submitted for the state competition will also be submitted to the national Journalist of the Year competition hosted by the Journalism Education Association. The national winner receives a $3,000 scholarship, and up to three runners-up will get scholarships of up to $1,000, a news release from the Wisconsin JEA said ...

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State of Mequon-Thiensville is strong, leaders say

Growth and development in both Mequon and Thiensville, measured progress toward better fire department staffing, increased performance among students in the school district and improved school facilities were among the 2021 highlights reported by the leaders of Mequon, Thiensville and the M-T School District and the Chamber of Commerce during the State of the Community presentation last week. Hosted by the Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce, the event was held at the Foxtown Annex, one of the flagship developments in the Mequon Town Center improvement. Presenting the state of their respective communities and organizations were Chamber of Commerce President Dean Rennicke, Mequon Mayor John Wirth, Thiensville President Van Mobley and M-T School Superintendent Matthew Joynt ...

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School recall election cost more than $58,000

Mequon-Thiensville School district officials revealed last week the total costs of the special School Board recall election last year. During a special listening session of the School Board March 8, district officials said that the special election cost the district and taxpayers $58,401.85 ...

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Candidate forum videos available for three school board races

League of Women Voters also created a Voter Guide. The League of Women Voters of Ozaukee County has released the links to videos of three school board candidate forums ...

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Candidates tackle range of issues during forum

Teacher retention, academic recovery, mask mandates and equity were among the topics addressed during a recent candidate forum for the four people running for the Mequon-Thiensville School Board. Paul Buzzell, Jill Chromy, Scarlett Johnson and Jason Levash are seeking one of two seats on the April 5 ballot. All participated in an online forum Feb. 28 hosted by the League ofW omen Voters of Ozaukee County ...

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Johnson wallows in ‘cesspool’ in MTSD School Board race

“The Catholic Church needs another inquisition.” That was a tweet from Illinois agitator Frank McCormick in response to an article about a Jesuit university employing a rabbi with whom Mr. McCormick apparently disagrees. Another of his tweets trumpets that bullying teachers would be a “perk” of a new business he is looking to create. Yet another charges Black History Month as a “Trojan horse” for leftist ideology. Another post mocks transgender and non-binary youths. Others say that public education is irredeemable and must be destroyed. The list goes on ...

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No, masks don’t hurt children

It is wonderful that COVID-19 rates are going down in our area to such a degree that Mequon-Thiensville School District has removed the requirement for masks from 5K-12th grade. The board and Dr. Joynt have done an amazing job of following their COVID-19 plan, adjusting it as needed and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Washington-Ozaukee Public Health Department. Requiring masks when the community burden of communicable disease is high makes sense. For those of you who disagree with the science behind masking, please read the CDC science brief on Community Risks of Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 ...

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Vote Paul Buzzell and Jason Levash to MTSD School Board

I am a Mequon resident and MTSD parent who appreciates the thoughtful way our school district navigated the pandemic and who is thankful our district remains strong. That said, learning loss due to the pandemic is real, and there are challenges ahead. No one will be more critical in helping address those challenges than educators. Retaining our excellent teachers, while continuing to recruit new talent, must be one of our district’s highest priorities. We must ensure MTSD remains a “destination district” for both current educators and new hires. Unfortunately, the chaos and negativity around the recall and current School Board campaign have made MTSD less attractive. It’s time to put an end to the negativity by electing School Board candidates who are committed to educational excellence, show respect and support for our educators, and have the knowledge and expertise to address the teacher shortage and other district issues ...

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Keeping steady hands on the steering wheel for classrooms, schools and districts is becoming harder

A recent press release from School Choice Wisconsin carried the headline, “Wisconsin’s Parental Awakening.” Whatever your opinions are on school issues, there is clearly something to be said for that as a valid assessment of what is going on ... This is having a substantial impact on school board elections, the pressures on educators at every level, and the shape of what students do in classrooms. Is this good or bad? I’m not here to answer that. But I am here to tell you it’s happening and it’s a signal of additional polarization in education. It is generally making the work of school leaders and teachers harder. There is simply less trust and confidence being shown in educators overall. More middle of the road — not to mention milder — sentiments lend themselves to good school cultures, and there is a shortage of such sentiments. Keeping steady hands on the steering wheel for classrooms, schools and school districts is becoming harder ...

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Did state officials 'rejigger' school scores to make them look better, as lawmakers say?

After two years of pandemic schooling with few measures of how students were performing, the release of state assessments of Wisconsin schools in November was to be the first comprehensive picture of academic slide. Surprisingly, despite standardized test scores dropping statewide, the state Department of Public Instruction gave passing marks to the same percentage of schools as it did before the pandemic in 2019 ...

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Mequon alderman files new open records lawsuit against Mequon-Thiensville School District

After Mequon Ald. Mark Gierl won an open records lawsuit against the Mequon-Thiensville School District in October, he is suing the district again, seeking to obtain access to other email distribution lists after saying the district denied his requests. A complaint filed Feb. 22 in Ozaukee County Circuit Court said Gierl is requesting email distribution lists and emails sent to such lists, which distribute information to district alumni, recipients of the district's Momentum newsletter and Mequon-Thiensville Recreation Department participants ...

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Mequon-Thiensville School Board candidate forum to be held on Zoom

The League of Women Voters of Ozaukee County will sponsor a Zoom-based Forum for the Mequon-Thiensville School Board candidates at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28. All four candidates — Paul Buzzell, Jill Chromy, Scarlett Johnson and Jason Levash — will participate and will respond to questions submitted in advance from the public. Mequon and Thiensville residents are invited to submit questions for the candidates via the link: https://forms.gle/tbFEu5vanyraRaV88 ...

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Book bans, witch hunts and watch lists aren't conservatism. They're fascism

CNN's SE Cupp examines the hypocrisy of conservatives banning books from public universities when they deem them an outrage while supporting an idea to create a "Liberty Institute" at the University of Texas. The proposed project being pushed by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is said to be "dedicated to the study and teaching of individual liberty ...

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Four candidates advance to April general election in Mequon-Thiensville School Board race

Four candidates will advance in the hunt for two seats on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board following the Feb. 15 primary. Paul Buzzell received the most votes, 2,674 (27.39%). Also moving on to the April 5 general election will be Jason Levash, with 1,952 votes (20%), Scarlett Johnson, with 1,936 votes (19.83%) and Jill Chromy, with 1,766 votes (18.09%). Maria Douglas received the least number of votes, 1,403 (14.37%), and will not advance. There were also 30 write-in votes ...

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School board elections in southeastern Wisconsin heating up as politics get involved

Some school board primary elections in southeastern Wisconsin on Tuesday, Feb. 15 are heating up as politics are pushed to the forefront. School board elections are usually non-partisan, but that is not the case for some going into Tuesday ...

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Candidates discuss their strengths, key issues

Five people running for a seat on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board will be whittled down to four in the Feb. 15 primary election. There will be two open spots on the board come April. Current board members Akram Khan and Chris Schultz have chosen not to seek another term. The nonpartisan spring election will be held on April 5. The News Graphic asked three questions of the five candidates ahead of the primary ...

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Cedarburg School Board member Jennifer Calzada resigns due to harassment

CEDARBURG — Cedarburg School Board member Jennifer Calzada announced her resignation from the board and is withdrawing from the upcoming election, stating that she and her family have received harassment. “Throughout this election and during my time on the Cedarburg School Board, certain members of the community have continuously put forth a lot of negativity on myself and my family,” Calzada said in a statement to the News Graphic. “It is unfortunate what certain people in Cedarburg deem as acceptable behavior. Children and family should be off-limits. My first priority, before anything else, is being a wife and mother. The personal attacks and negative actions are now greatly affecting my children and other family members ...

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Kleefisch talks school issues in Waukesha

Also joining Kleefisch Saturday was Scarlett Johnson, one of the challenger candidates in the recent Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall election. “She said people were trying to intimidate her, and that because she was just a mom, she was not qualified to serve,” Kleefisch said. But she also praised Johnson for pushing back and saying that being a mother was, in fact, a qualifying trait ...

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Bridge the Divide sues M-T School Board candidate

Group claims Johnson’s ‘false and disparaging’ comments are causing serious harm; Johnson says lawsuit a ‘political hit job’ ...

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Mequon-Thiensville School Board candidates discuss improving academic performance, race and diversity and COVID-19 mitigation measures

The Mequon-Thiensville School District was the scene of a months-long effort to try to recall incumbent school board members Wendy Francour, Erik Hollander, Akram Khan and Chris Schultz. Those efforts ultimately failed, as a majority of voters rejected the recall in last November's recall election, and all four incumbents retained their seats. After the spring election, at least two of those seats will have new board members, as Khan and Schultz are not seeking reelection. Five candidates are seeking to fill those positions. The Feb. 15 primary will narrow the field to four, who will advance to the April 5 general election. The two candidates with the most votes there will earn three-year terms on the school board ...

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Mequon-Thiensville School Board candidates discuss improving academic performance, race and diversity and COVID-19 mitigation measures

The Mequon-Thiensville School District was the scene of a months-long effort to try to recall incumbent school board members Wendy Francour, Erik Hollander, Akram Khan and Chris Schultz. Those efforts ultimately failed, as a majority of voters rejected the recall in last November's recall election, and all four incumbents retained their seats. After the spring election, at least two of those seats will have new board members, as Khan and Schultz are not seeking reelection. Five candidates are seeking to fill those positions. The Feb. 15 primary will narrow the field to four, who will advance to the April 5 general election. The two candidates with the most votes there will earn three-year terms on the school board ...

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Wisconsin Ethics Commission Dismisses Frivolous Complaint Against The Coalition to Support MTSD

Mequon-Thiensville – In the waning days of the recall effort in early November against four Mequon-Thiensville school board members, the recall organization filed a frivolous complaint against the Coalition to Support MTSD with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.

Today, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission notified the Coalition to Support MTSD that they had found no reasonable suspicion, dismissed the complaint, and the matter is now closed.

“My clients said when this was filed that this was a baseless accusation, and the Wisconsin Ethics Commission agreed today,” said Attorney Mike Maistelman, who represents the Coalition to Support MTSD. “The Coalition followed every rule as they successfully beat back the recall attempt, and they remain committed to their work to support the Mequon-Thiensville School District.”

Proud Boys Regroup, Focusing on School Boards and Town Councils

They showed up last month outside the school board building in Beloit, Wis., to protest school masking requirements. They turned up days later at a school board meeting in New Hanover County, N.C., before a vote on a mask mandate. They also attended a gathering in Downers Grove, Ill., where parents were trying to remove a nonbinary author’s graphic novel from public school libraries. Members of the Proud Boys, the far-right nationalist group, have increasingly appeared in recent months at town council gatherings, school board presentations and health department question-and-answer sessions across the country. Their presence at the events is part of a strategy shift by the militia organization toward a larger goal: to bring their brand of menacing politics to the local level ...

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Despite setbacks in elections, organizers behind school board recall efforts say it's 'just the beginning'

By one metric, an explosive two years of recall attempts against school board members in multiple Wisconsin districts have failed: None of the 36 targeted members were unseated by special elections. But recall organizers suggest that metric does not concern them. They’re thinking bigger. Already, many school board members have resigned after being threatened with recalls. Others are feeling burned out by the relentless vitriol. And the coalitions that sprung up to organize the recalls are not letting up; they're adapting ...

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A fourth Oconomowoc School Board member has stepped down, saying he and his family felt unsafe in their home

Saying he and his family do not feel safe in their own home, Scott Roehl has announced he is leaving the Oconomowoc Area School District and vacating his seat on the Oconomowoc School Board. He is the fourth board member to leave in just a few months. In August, three board members resigned ...

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Mequon-Thiensville recall fails to unseat any school board members after high-spending race with national attention

A recall effort against four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members failed to unseat any incumbents Tuesday, a major loss for recall organizers who had raised nearly $50,000 and gained national attention in their months long pursuit ...

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‘We Conquered Fear and Anger’: Incumbents Hold Seats in Mequon-Thiensville School Recall

A recall of four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members Tuesday failed to unseat any of them, an outcome supporters of a race that attracted national media attention said shows many voters don’t agree with the divisive campaign by conservatives to oust the incumbents ...

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Mequon-Thiensville voters reject school board recall

Voters in Mequon and Thiensville rejected an attempt to recall four school board members in a special election Tuesday. All four incumbents held onto their seats by comfortable margins. Recall organizers wanted new representation on the board due to concerns over academic performance, racial equity efforts, and COVID mitigation decisions ...

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People in Mequon, Thiensville prepare to head to polls Tuesday for school board recall

People in Mequon and Thiensville are getting ready to head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 2 to vote in the district's recall election. Jenni Hofschulte, the Southeast Regional Organizer for the Wisconsin Public Education Network, said, "There's been a national push towards creating partisanship on school boards ...

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Mequon-Thiensville school board recall election draws national attention

Voters will head to the polls Tuesday in Mequon and Thiensville to decide whether to keep current members of the school board. School board opponents are calling to replace four of the seven members with a slate of Republican-backed candidates. The effort was launched in August with a successful petition drive. The two sides have been at odds over COVID-19 protocols and critical race theory in schools. The campaign has also drawn high-profile backers, like conservative billionaire donor Richard Uihlein. It's also ignited passions across these communities ...

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In final days of Mequon-Thiensville recall race, a defamation suit and claims of ethics violations

In the final days before Tuesday's recall election of four Mequon-Thiensville school board seats, organizers on both sides have been accused of legal violations. Recall organizer Amber Schroeder said Friday an ethics complaint was being filed against a committee supporting the four incumbents, accusing the group of breaking campaign finance rules — allegations denied by the committee's treasurer. The same day, a local organization sued recall organizer and candidate Scarlett Johnson claiming defamation. Johnson didn't immediately return a call from the Journal Sentinel about the suit ...

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A district in decline, or one of the best in the state? - There’s lots of ways to measure MTSD student performance

A lot of numbers have been thrown out for consumption about the academic performance of students in the Mequon-Thiensville School District. The organizers of the Restore MTSD effort have shared countless graphics that show a decline in several areas and say that is why their four candidates in Tuesday’s recall election deserve to unseat four of the current board members. Incumbents and their supporters in the Coalition to Support MTSD say many of those numbers are being taken out of context or are flat-out wrong. The short answer to the broader question is, yes, some indicators of academic performance have shown a decline in recent years. The other fact is, MTSD remains one of the elite school districts in the state ...

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Donations to MT School Board race top $85,000

Many came from outside district, including Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein. Among the donors to the campaigns was billionaire Richard Uihlein, founder of Uline, a Pleasant Prairie-based distributor of shipping, industrial and packaging materials. Uihlein and his wife, Elizabeth, of Lake Forest, Ill., are known for their large donations to Republican political candidates ...

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Don’t let schools become political battlefield

Dear RestoreMTSD: You cannot pull my “distracting” IEP kid out of class to encourage other children’s excellence. They learn patience and acceptance by being with him. They hear his unique perspective. That is part of excellence. He is part of their lesson ...

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Recall much ado about nothing

As a longtime resident of Thiensville, I want to state my position on the recall election of four School Board members this Nov. 2. I think the election is disruptive, divisive and much ado about nothing. Let me explain. The much ado part comes from my belief the Mequon-Thiensville School District and board have handled the COVID crisis intelligently. We can be proud of their efforts to keep our children and families safe. Period. School standards and rankings? This district has consistently been a top-tier school system ...

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Attacks against school district devastating

I have been an educator at Homestead for 33 years and it has been devastating to see individuals leading the recall effort attacking the school district from every angle possible. It hurts so much, because my colleagues and I have dedicated ourselves to improving the lives of our students and teaching truth. We feel denigrated every time we see their negative ads ...

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Voting in small local races is critical to the well-being of our schools

It is no wonder that so many neglect to vote anytime other than big-ticket elections. Information on the small-race candidates, the office they are running for and what decisions that office makes are often fuzzy to many of us. Candidates for these positions normally don’t have the funding or campaign support to do much more than lawn signs, which adds to apathy over getting out to vote. Please keep in mind, the reality is that local races have a huge impact on how our community resolves (or doesn’t) everyday problems like potholes, development or allocation of taxes. Voting for an individual who can effectively serve, determine solutions and carry out policy that will reduce that problem in the future is critical to the success of any town, big or small ...

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Waste of time, money and energy

After seeing the signatures of people who signed the Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall petitions, I am once again shocked at the behavior in which those in the recall group have conducted themselves. Not only was it a one-sided campaign of falsehoods but it lacked integrity. Getting signatures from a nursing facility — check. Getting signatures from a college dorm — check ...

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MTSD incumbents deserve to keep their jobs

It's OK for kids (and parents) to feel discomfort, or sadness, or confusion. There are things in our history and things that will happen in their lives that should make them feel that way. When we ask a school to remove any discomfort, we abdicate our responsibility as parents to help our children make sense of a confusing world. At our house, we deal in discomfort and sadness already. It’s hard to see my twins struggle with big concepts like life and death at 6 years old as they watch their dad fight cancer. But just like tough topics at school, it is relevant learning that will make them people with empathy, resilience, and compassion ...

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MTSD deserves a nonpartisan School Board

The MTSD School Board recall has brought the dysfunction of Congress and the politics of Washington to our doorstep. It has turned our community into a space where you are on one side, or the other, and on that one piece of information one can claim to know everything about you. That type of partisanship reduces people and debate to all good and right, or all bad and wrong with no nuance or expectation of critical thinking. This is the problem with Congress, politics and this recall. Mrs. Johnson speaks about getting involved in the recall after viewing “The Talk” and not understanding why this was being shared with constituents. What Mrs. Johnson said about “not understanding,” and her conclusion that she needs to fight it is key. It is key to the problems in Congress, politics and this recall election ...

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Nothing wrong with teaching inclusion

Critical Race Theory: This is a term frequently mentioned by the recall group yet is confusing and unknown to many. It is also a main point in their push for a recall. So where to go from here? Is CRT being taught in our K-12 schools as some say? The answer is NO. Being highly educated (12 years of post-secondary education), I can assure you that CRT is not being taught in our K-12 schools. CRT is mostly the purview of higher-level graduate studies, instructed by doctorally prepared professors. Therefore, our teachers don’t have the background necessary to instruct on this theory. However, what IS being brought to the forefront of our (and our amazing district’s) attention is the importance of inclusion — of all human beings — and educating about the same ...

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Mequon-Thiensville Recall Latest Sign of Partisan Politics Upending School Boards

Organizers of the Nov. 2 recall of four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members say theirs is a grassroots effort fueled by their frustration about race discussions in school, COVID-19 safeguards, and declining academic performance by the school district’s students. But supporters of those targeted by the recall point to another reason for the controversial Nov. 2 vote: Conservative political organizations using those topics to motivate their base for next year’s elections. Conservative groups and Republican politicians are taking an active role in the recall ...

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The Conservative School Board Strategy

Today, we’re looking at how Republicans are trying to use school boards and critical race theory to mobilize their voters. And we explore a free speech debate that is dividing the world of science ...

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Records: Biggest donor in school recall is billionaire GOP donor Richard Uihlein

Billionaire GOP donor Richard Uihlein is the largest donor in the effort to recall four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members in a race whose national attention is steadily growing, campaign finance records reveal. The challengers trying to replace the incumbents are getting a lot of help from outside influences, as first reported in the Journal Sentinel, to the tune of $47,226 ...

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Mequon-Thiensville recall organizers backed by Republican megadonor Richard Uihlein, hire former Trump campaign lawyer

Republican megadonor billionaire Richard Uihlein is the top contributor to the recall effort against four Mequon-Thiensville school board members, giving $6,000 to recall committees, newly released finance reports show ...

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Four challengers seeking to oust Mequon-Thiensville Board members

Constituents in 11 school districts across the state and 82 nationwide have launched recall attempts against sitting school board members, according to Ballotpedia. Among them is the Mequon-Thiensville School District, where organizers collected the necessary signatures to prompt a recall election for incumbents Wendy Francour, Erik Hollander, Akram Khan and Chris Schultz. Only those board members who have served more than a year on their term can be recalled ...

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Mequon-Thiensville school board recall early voting underway

Early voting is underway in an attempt to recall four members of the Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education ...

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Here are bios on the challengers, incumbents in Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall election

Restore MTSD has said that their candidates in the Nov. 2 Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall election are concerned, nonpartisan parents who want to restore excellence to the district. But a group supporting the incumbents, Support MTSD, said there is more to the recall candidates' backgrounds than they are publicizing on the RestoreMTSD.com website ...

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In Wisconsin, recall efforts add to pressure on school boards in the wake of COVID-19

Wisconsin has the second-most school board recall efforts in the country, after California. Usually, an election year like 2021 would be relatively quiet. The presidential election was last year, the governor’s race isn’t until 2022, and Wisconsin — like the rest of the country – tends to see lower turnout and less political engagement in off-cycle years. But in Mequon and Thiensville, two Milwaukee-area suburbs, a recall election for four of the joint school district’s seven board members has drummed up community, and national, interest ...

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'UPFRONT' recap: Mequon-Thiensville recall 'politically aligned' some school board members say

Three of four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members who are being recalled said the recall movement is "politically aligned" and claimed recall organizers were not truthful as they collected signatures to force an election. Board members Wendy Francour, Akram Khan and Chris Schultz appeared in separate interviews Sunday on "UPFRONT," produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. Francour pointed out that recall organizer Scarlett Johnson, who is one of four challenge candidates in the Nov. 2 election, is a district area leader in Republican Rebecca Kleefisch's campaign for governor. Francour also said Johnson is involved with the group "No Left Turn in Education," which on its website states that it wants to eradicate "indoctrination that suppresses independent thought" in school children ...

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The AstoTurf campaign comes to my local school board

The candidates are running a dual track campaign. In public, they portray themselves merely as advocates for higher academic standards, while their social media accounts teem with culture war references ...

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Energizing Conservative Voters, One School Board Election at a Time

Little more than a year ago, Scarlett Johnson was a stay-at-home mother, devoted to chauffeuring her children to school and supervising their homework. That was before the school system in her affluent Milwaukee suburb posted a video about privilege and race that “jarred me to my core,” she said ...

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Mequon-Thiensville school board recall could spark other recalls nationwide

our sitting school board members – Erik Hollander, Akram Khan, Chris Schultz and Wendy Francour – are facing recall by four challengers – Scarlett Johnson, Kris Kittell, Charles Lorenz and Cheryle Rebholz. The effort has become intensely political and could prove a spark for other recalls across the country ...

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‘We are here to listen, and we do’ - M-T School Board incumbents address recall claims

THIENSVILLE — Imagine a pilot announcing to a planeful of passengers that there is bad weather up ahead and they must navigate around it, causing a 30-minute delay in landing. Now imagine the passengers congregating to vote on whether the pilot should be allowed to stay in charge. It’s not unlike the motives behind an effort underway to unseat four members of the Mequon-Thiensville School Board for decisions they made in the midst of a pandemic, said Thiensville community leader John Treffert ...

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Outrage culture has no place on school board

Last week, the News Graphic ran an article covering an event on Oct. 12 hosted by the School Board recall faction. I also attended the event; here’s my summary: Of the 90-minute event, the candidates spoke for less than 10 minutes and shared no actual plans. It was simply designed for attendees to air grievances and feel “heard” by challengers with no idea how to actually operationalize change ...

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Recall a dangerous proposition

Institutions, laws and traditions are important anchors against the ebbs and flows of feelings and fads. We may not always like them, but they help keep us from being carried away by whatever winds happen to prevail — winds like politics, special interests, fears, and feelings ...

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MTSD recall candidate using Nazi imagery is way beyond wrong

As the November 2, 2021, election day nears, politics and emotions are at a fever pitch over the proposed Mequon-Thiensville School District recall. Does a district consistently rated as one of the best in the country need radical change? I am carefully asking the challengers. What do they stand for, and what do they propose? My father was a Holocaust survivor. I am deeply disturbed by candidate Kris Kittel’s posts continually referencing our government with Nazis ...

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No, CRT isn’t being taught in our schools

To suggest that critical race theory is being taught in our high schools, let alone elementary schools, is preposterous. To fully understand CRT, one has to understand a body of legal scholarship written in academic prose often too difficult for someone who has advanced degrees. I was first introduced to CRT during my doctoral studies. It took me five years to fully steep myself in this framework. To say that children are studying red-lining, constitutional law, and hegemony as analyzed by CRT, is suggesting that our teachers are teaching Ph.D.-level coursework to 3-to-18-year-olds ...

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Shut down the recall frenzy

The MTSD School Board recall candidates could have run six months ago in the regular election but didn’t. We need to shut down this recall frenzy. Elections are at the heart of our democracy. We have regular elections to ensure people who are not happy with elected officials have a chance to run against them or vote them out. Yet not one of the four candidates running against the current Mequon-Thiensville School Board ran when they had a chance to run in a regular school board election just six months ago ...

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Don’t politicize schools — vote no on recall

Remember a time when school board meetings were free from the public hurling accusations, insults and engaging in disorderly conduct? While the Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education meetings have not gotten as bad as some of those seen around the country, they are not all sunshine and roses ...

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Misleading information from Restore MTSD

Recently, members of our community received unsolicited text messages from the Restore MTSD effort which were incredibly misleading. It included a graph related to MTSD’s Milestone #1 — Reading to Grade-Level Proficiency (Grades K-2). The graph looks alarming without explanation and context. The goal is to have every student reading independently BY GRADE 3 ...

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Sign, sign everywhere a sign

As I drive through Thiensville and Mequon, I am struck by the rapidly increasing number of yard signs related to the upcoming School Board recall election. Some of the signs in this “sign war” verge on being billboards. My concern is that the people who display signs in their yards have a responsibility to keep up with the constantly emerging backstory for this recall and make a daily decision about keeping their signs visible ...

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Wisconsin is second in nation for school board recall attempts, driven by disputes over masking, teaching race

Wisconsinites have attempted more recalls of school board members during the pandemic than every state except California, part of a nationwide surge driven by political divisions over pandemic protocols and the teaching of racism and history. The number of recall attempts against school board members this year in the U.S. — 81 petitions against 209 members so far — is double the total of any previous year tallied by Ballotpedia, a Middleton-based nonprofit ...

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Mequon-Thiensville School Board candidate, Kleefisch campaign team member deletes tweets on white supremacy, transgender issues

Scarlett Johnson — a candidate in the Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall election and a member of former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch's gubernatorial campaign team — posted tweets in recent years that suggested she isn't worried about white supremacy, called Planned Parenthood a white supremacist group and asked ...

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Rebecca Kleefisch was a critic of recall elections when she was the target. Now she champions the Mequon school board recall

Recalls for thee, but not for me. Nearly a decade ago, many Republicans and even a few Democrats were adamant that recall elections should not be used to settle policy disputes. They argued that politicians should be recalled only if they were guilty of some grave wrongdoing. "This is becoming almost a spectacle," then-Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who beat back a recall attempt in 2012, told Fox News at the time. "I don’t think that the writers of the original recall statute, the founding fathers of Wisconsin, when they wrote the constitution, intended for the use of the recall function in this way.” But now Kleefisch, a Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor, has jumped with both feet into the recall election of four school board members in the Mequon-Thiensville School District over — you guessed it — a series of policy disputes ...

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'I still don't feel safe': Former St. Charles school board member details why she resigned

A former St. Charles school board member who resigned this week says she has been harassed for about a year by a group of people upset about her views on in-person learning, mask requirements and other issues. ...

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The kids are watching. What are they learning from adult behavior lately?

An anecdote from a suburban school board member: He was selling fundraising raffle tickets at a high school football game. A parent came up to him and said, “Are you the guy who voted to mask our children?” The board member said yes. The parent called him several names. The board member said, “Have a nice day.” The parent called him some more names. The board member again said, “Have a nice day.” The guy left. A student was standing nearby and said, “All that just to buy a raffle ticket?” ...

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Former School Board presidents: Recall would jeopardize district success

It has been our privilege to serve the community as presidents of the MTSD Board of Education. As residents of Mequon-Thiensville with this unique perspective, we feel compelled to address the effort to recall four School Board members. While we have not always agreed on how to solve issues facing our school district, it is the politicization and distortion of facts by those behind the recall effort that unites us in our belief that this recall is NOT in the best interests of the students, parents, or taxpayers of Mequon-Thiensville ...

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Is this how the American experiment ends?

In his farewell address, George Washington presciently warned our new nation that it needed to safeguard the foundation of its real independence — unity of citizenship — and to beware the polarization of political parties that would inevitably seek to weaken it. As a nation that lionizes its founding, we should be very much troubled that we have forgotten this critical lesson ...

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Respect fellow neighbors and business owners

I believe in civil discourse, collaboration and compromise to settle any difference. While I am against the recall, I am also against any lingering resentment after the election — on November 3, we will all still be neighbors, same as we are today. To that end, I ask all of you, please do not resent any local businesses for participating in this recall process. River Club, Fiddleheads, and Shully’s ...

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Current MTSD board doing outstanding job

As a former MTSD student (HHS class of 2011) listening to the banter between the political divide and the petition to recall four members of the School Board, I’m reminded of something my former therapist told me: Just because someone says something louder and more often, that doesn’t make it true. With that said, the people looking to recall the members of the School Board can talk all they want, as loud as they want, but whatever they say doesn’t make it true ...

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Vote to keep current MTSD School Board

Remember a time when school board meetings were free from the public hurling accusations, insults and engaging in disorderly conduct? While the Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education meetings have not gotten as bad as some of those seen around the country, they are not all sunshine and roses. One has to wonder who is behind the politically savvy effort to recall four of MTSD’s School Board members ...

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Why is the recall happening?

When this bizarre school board recall effort started early this summer, my first reaction was “why?” What could justify removing officials duly elected to a nonpartisan, volunteer office, in a district that provided an excellent education to our two children, and is consistently ranked near the top in all academic ratings ...

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Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall candidate shares social media posts with Holocaust references

One of the challengers running in the Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall election has shared social media posts with Holocaust references in them, which drew condemnation from the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, a program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation ...

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Why Did I Join in the Letter Regarding the Recall?

I have carefully stayed out, at least publicly, of national, state, county and school issues as mayor. I think that is the right thing to do. Nobody wants to hear from me on issues that have nothing to do with why I was elected. I have made exceptions only when something has a real impact on the operation or ordinances of the city. Therefore, I thought long and hard before deciding to say anything about the recall ...

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Statement Regarding the Upcoming Recall Election

We urge you to vote for the school board incumbents in the upcoming recall election. We are all of the Mequon mayors who currently live in Mequon and a past president of Thiensville ...

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Congratulations to MTSD on their report card

In the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s most recent District Report Card, MTSD was ranked the No. 2 public K-12 district in the state. MTSD has an AAA bond rating from Moody’s, the highest rating they offer, which saved us, the taxpayers, $16 million in the most recent referendum ...

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Vote to keep school board members

As a proud parent of two children currently enrolled in the Mequon-Thiensville School District, I feel compelled to defend the School Board against one of the several false claims made by the organizers of the recall campaign ...

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School board recall is misguided

The MTSD School Board recall is misguided without legal or factual basis and is a threat to our democracy. The recall mechanism was not intended to be utilized to recall public officials by those upset by policy decisions. Elections are about policy; recalls are intended to be about corruption ...

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Critical race theory is not being taught in MTSD

By now you’ve heard plenty about Critical Race Theory, and there’s no shortage of opinions about what exactly CRT is. But whether your definition is correct or not, whether you are for it or against it, the bottom line is: CRT is not in our district’s curriculum ...

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MTSD staff and parents need to come together

In these divided times we continue to witness a polarization of values, priorities and behavior. This has led to a stalemate on many critical issues confronting our nation, states and cities ...

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These are the best Milwaukee-area middle schools for 2022, according to Niche.com

Lake Shore Middle School in Mequon jumped eight spots from last year's list to land at No. 4 in this year's ranking ...

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Conservative Groups Backing Mequon-Thiensville School Board Recall

Early in August, many residents of the City of Mequon and the Village of Thiensville found unstamped leaflets in their mailboxes imploring the recipients to “RECALL MTSD SCHOOL BOARD.” It went on to make a number of assertions to justify such a drastic act ...

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MTSD is not broken

In recent months, there has been a concerted effort across our country to inject partisan politics into school boards, a locally controlled entity which, historically, has been nonpartisan. Sadly, that fanaticism has now come to the Mequon-Thiensville School District in the form of a recall election involving four incumbent MTSD school board members.

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Check things out for yourself before voting in recall

Is the School Board recall really about taxes going up by 21%, a 22% decline in student enrollment, 15% decline in reading skills, 15% decline in math and ACT? Well, it only takes a few minutes of your time to check for yourself. These are all falsehoods (lies). The recall is not about the School Board, but rather it is a start of a bigger plan by a small fanatical group of people who don’t plan to stop at the School Board but will try to do the same to our city and state government.

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Appreciative of School Board’s work, obligations

Over the last six months, I have heard repeatedly that the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education is unresponsive to the concerns and voices of its constituents. I would like to take a moment to express that nothing could be further from the truth.

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MTSD School Board is listening to parents

I am an MTSD parent who writes in support of our current MTSD School Board members and in opposition to the recall. Based on the recall leaders’ constant cries to the media, one might think that the current Board “isn’t listening to parents.” I disagree.

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MTSD is considering the voices of all

I am writing this letter to say “thank you” to the current MTSD School Board. It has been a very rough year for you and I am thankful that you are still volunteering in your roles to help serve our community and most importantly our children.

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M-T School Board members facing recall urge community to get the facts

MEQUON — Two of the four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members who are the target of a recall are speaking out.

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Mequon-Thiensville School Board Vice President Francour: Statement on recall

I have been listening. Now I speak out. I, Wendy Francour, share the following as an individual community member, not as a representative of the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education ...

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How Local School Board Races Turned Partisan With the Cash to Match

These nonpartisan elections are now becoming battlegrounds worth investing in for Republicans and Democrats alike.

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School Board recall a detriment to community

What I have always loved most about Mequon-Thiensville is our sense of community, as if the spirit of a nation after 9/11 survived here in our bit of heaven. But recently, I see a viciousness that scares me, especially since it has to do with Mequon and Thiensville’s greatest asset of all: our children ...

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MTSD lawsuit over emails could have chilling effect for parents

I was alarmed to learn that a Mequon alderman is suing the Mequon-Thiensville School District to obtain private parent email addresses. Although Alderman Mark Gierl states that his intention is to provide a counternarrative to district parents ...

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School Board Leader Calls for Civility

We've become increasingly alarmed at the recent reports of personal threats of violence and harassment directed at school board members across the state. Civil disagreement and protest are cornerstones of our democracy but attempts to intimidate school board members and physically disrupt school board proceedings are not acceptable ...

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Schools become political 'battlefield' in culture wars Trump cultivated

Schools have become the focal point for culture war fights that animated former President Donald Trump's base and have been advanced by conservative activists and influencers since he left office. Conservative grassroots activists have zeroed in on local education policy with a tea party-esque fervor for months — spanning debates about reopening, how to teach U.S. history and required masking. Now, conservative personalities are urging followers to run for school board seats that have rarely generated much interest, while dozens of activist groups focused on schools have sprouted to advance the fights ...

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Tea party 2.0? Conservatives get organized in school battles

MEQUON, Wis. (AP) — A loose network of conservative groups with ties to major Republican donors and party-aligned think tanks is quietly lending firepower to local activists engaged in culture war fights in schools across the country ...

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Has the damage already been done to MTSD?

The MTSD School Board recall may have already affected our community, whether they receive the votes for a recall election or not. It may have polarized us all to the extent that we are no longer interested in working together ...

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To recall or not?

I recently received a letter and recall petition papers from the group trying to recall four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members. It contained a lot of numbers regarding school test scores declining. It also states that nonresidents voted illegally for the tax levy, which the School Board did not stop ...

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Recall fraction drastically misrepresents MTSD mission

I was very dismayed by a recent email I saw from the group seeking to recall MTSD Board members. In the email they state “MTSD Mission Statement: Our Commitment to Equity … embrace a culture of Equity and inclusion in which each student is “rooted in the ideals of Equity… (Not excellence…..” This is not the MTSD Mission and it misrepresents MTSD’s commitments ...

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Resist the school board recall

The Mequon-Thiensville School District is a catalyst for much of what is good about the quality of life in our community. It’s a culture of excellence ...

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Equity in our schools

Whereas equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to imbalances. Take for example a student with special needs ...

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Recall divides, embarrasses community

Recall organizers, pipe down! That’s something I would say to my grandkids when they get overexuberant.

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Does a recall really make sense?

Emotions are running high. The effort to recall members of the MTSD School Board is underway. Accusations are being made and politics are being interjected. This is wrong and needs to stop. School boards are required to be nonpartisan.

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MTSD Board, administrators deserve support

I am writing because there appears to be confusion about the excellence of the MTSD School Board and the MTSD administration. I am saddened by the ongoing community displays of hostility and disrespect directed toward board and administration members.

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Keep experienced leadership on our M-T School Board

During the 2020-2021 school year, we were fortunate to have experienced School Board members who kept our schools open and our children safe. The MTSD was part of only 54% of K-12 school districts in Wisconsin who offered five days per week in-person school, which they did beginning in September 2020.

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Far-right group is working to politicize local public schools

To Ozaukee Press: There is a national movement surging in our country to politicize school boards. It is not unique to Mequon. The current school board recall effort underway in Mequon is supported by the Patriots of Oz, a far-right conservative group that has laid out their plan to put candidates in as many elected positions as possible in Ozaukee County, its municipalities and its school boards.

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Recall effort not who we are

To the editor: The pandemic has been a new experience for everyone in education nationwide, demanding creative solutions to meet a new set of challenging issues. I feel the district has handled these challenges well in a constantly changing environment.

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School boards should be nonpartisan

To the editor: There is a national movement surging in our country to politicize school boards. It is not unique to Mequon.

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M-T schools recall organizers about halfway to their goal

MEQUON — Organizers of the effort to recall four members of the Mequon-Thiensville School Board say they are about halfway to their goal of 4,200 signatures for each member.

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Mequon-Thiensville schools deliver outstanding education to students. Recall attempt won’t help students as district recovers from pandemic.

The Mequon-Thiensville School District has remained strong over the course of its history. Now as the schools which serve our children are politicized, MTSD is faced with a recall election of four School Board members.

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MTSD is strong

Our local school district has made Mequon and Thiensville a magnet for families looking for a thriving place to live, adding to the value of our homes and thereby helping to keep our taxes low and our community strong.

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