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Underly, Kerr to advance in race to head state DPI

Pecatonica Area School District superintendent Dr. Jill Underly and former Brown Deer superintendent Deborah Kerr will advance to the general election for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The two were the top two vote getters statewide out of a pool of seven candidates. The nonpartisan position oversees the Department of Public Instruction and will craft budget proposals for education funding and may set guidance for districts on a number of issues, including pandemic safety, virtual learning, curriculum, teacher licensing and student discipline.

“This campaign is about making sure every student has access to the high-quality education they deserve, every day,” said Underly. “Wisconsin’s public schools are plagued by inequity, and every student and every school needs more support to climb back from this pandemic. We need to safely open the schools, and close our widening opportunity gaps” Candidates advance in DPI race

“I am looking forward to sharing my vision and talking with any voter who is willing in the next seven weeks.” Underly said.

“I am truly honored by the support we received in today’s primary election. Voters from across Wisconsin heard our message and they said the same: ‘There is no room for politics in education,’” Kerr said in a statement on her campaign social media page. “ From the start of this campaign, I said that I was going to bring everyone to the table to advocate for every child. Throughout the campaign we had Democrats, Republicans, and Independents join our broad coalition to make this possible. Tonight’s results show that Wisconsin is ready to move forward and create a world-class education system.”

While Underly had a slight edge statewide advancing with 27.4% of the votes to Kerr’s 26.5% of the vote, turnout in Taylor County saw strong support for Kerr with 42.83% of the county vote compared to Underly’s 16.7% of the vote.

As expected, voter turnout was light throughout the county on Tuesday with just 934 voters casting ballots. By comparison, November’s general election saw 10,710 county voters cast ballots.

The spring general election will be held on April 6.