MILWAUKEE- The village of Menomonee Falls finds itself at the center of a political fight that could shake up the makeup of school boards nationwide.
Parents at odds with what their kids are learning, or they believe their kids are learning in school, are taking action, by running for office & finding political parties happy to help.
“What we are trying to do is bring attention to our citizens and those that are conservative that they should do their research, that they should get involved in local elections because they’re very important for their local daily lives and the futures of their children and grandchildren,” Waukesha County Republican Party Chairman Terry Dittrich said. “There’s a lot of angst by conservatives about the lack of transparency and the issues that have taken place over the last year.”
The WCRP has spent $31,000 supporting school board candidates this year. Dittrich says the party sees school board members as people on the front lines, protecting what their children are being taught in public school.
“CRT (conservative race theory), and other things that have caused a lot of concern by parents and the average citizen and that’s really driven their interest in local races,” Dittrich said.
While Ditrich classifies the candidates as concerned parents who happen to hold conservative values, current board president Faith Vanderhorst sees it as something else, “when we talk about blocks, are they listening to the local people or are they beholden to those financing their campaigns?”
The three candidates, all of whom WTMJ had extended an invitation to participate in this story, are running on a platform of parental rights and fiscal responsibility… all 3 are also supported by the County GOP.
“There’s a reason why it’s listed in state statute as a non partisan body,” Vanderhorst says. “You want it to be healthy, you want different opinions, not to be lead by strings but lets face it if someone is financing your campaign you’re beholden to them.”
While this is happening at Menomonee Falls this year, it’s not a new phenomenon. Pat Greco has worked in education for 30 plus years and was Superintendent at Menomonee Falls & West Bend before becoming an education consultant. She was Superintendent in West Bend in 2011 when candidates for school board running as a block were elected.
“I left, the entire executive team left & they’ve had 7 superintendents in the 12 years since I left,” Greco said. “If our intention for local communities is to have it function like the state and federal government, local communities will get stuck. If politics drive decision making it will disrupt opportunities for children & individuals who just want to do good service, to have an impact on that local level.”
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