School Board Seats Should Not Be Bought

A virtual unknown to the educational community came in first in the February 19th primary for the city wide seat for Milwaukee School Board.

It wasn’t because this person has been active in school affairs.

Nor was it because of his understanding of school issues. As of a few weeks ago he had limited knowledge about Site-Based Management and the Service Delivery Areas.

Nor was it because he is committed to parental involvement in the schools. At an interview attended by a Rethinking Schools editor, he said parental involvement should be limited to helping children at home and volunteering at school. He questioned the appropriateness of parents having a voice in the decision-making process of a school.

The candidate is David Lucey, a lawyer for the firm of Foley and Lardner and son of former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey. The main reason he did so well in the primary is that he spent over $25,000 on his campaign — several times more than any of his opponents.

According to Lucey’s campaign finance report filed February 11th, 55% of his contributions came from people who live outside of Milwaukee. Sixteen percent came from Foley and Lardner employees and many other contributions came from businessmen, lawyers, or associates of Mayor Norquist (including $500 each from Susan Mudd, the Mayor’s wife, and David Reimer, a top mayoral appointee.) Another $3000 came from Lucey’s father. Michele Carrier, a fund raiser for the multi-million dollar Herb Kohl campaign, helped solicit contributions. It is expected that Lucey will spend even more money in the general election.

We believe the children of Milwaukee will be best served if school board members are answerable to the parents, teachers, and taxpayers who live in Milwaukee and not monied interests who have little direct stake in the Milwaukee school system. We encourage people to base their vote during the April 2nd election on candidates’ experienc and viewpoints, not their bank balances.