Local school officials consider impact of new state superintendent

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Questions remain about who will replace Tony Evers as State Superintendent of Public Instruction while he prepares to become governor.

That person depends on the timing of when Evers officially leaves his position.

Chapter 17 of state law gives the governor authority to appoint a replacement or call a special election when there is a vacancy in the office of state superintendent. So, if Evers resigns as state superintendent before becoming governor, Scott Walker would name his replacement; however, if Evers stays in his role until being sworn in as governor, he gets to choose his replacement for the rest of his term through 2020. The statute language does not require a special election or any legislative approval.

“So, we've got about one million students in Wisconsin schools today from kindergarten through twelfth grade as we speak,” said Damian LaCroix, Superintendent of the Howard-Suamico School District. “So, they're our future, and I think it's prudent, necessary, and exciting that the candidates made that a focus.”

Evers continues to act as state superintendent with no word on stepping down or starting the replacement process. Regardless of who the next person might be, local educators have high hopes for the future of public education in Wisconsin.

“I'm really hoping his replacement will be the same type of person that will take equity with funding seriously,” said John Zegers, Superintendent of the West De Pere School District. “With Tony as our governor, I believe they will have a shared vision, and hopefully, schools and communities will be better off because of it.”

“It's really important that the new leader have a vision for the future of Wisconsin and the critical role that public education needs to play,” said LaCroix. “The person needs to communicate that vision and be a unifier working with a diverse set of leaders both politically, business-wide, at the community level.”

Legislative analysts predict Evers will choose to remain in his current position as long as possible so that he can pick his replacement in January.

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