Pridemore: DPI needs to handle money better
Don Pridemore is vying for state superintendent of public instruction against incumbent Tony Evers. Pridemore currently serves as 99th Assembly District representative. Here are his answers to questions from Lake Country Publications about the state superintendent race. Evers declined to participate.
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
Since being elected in 2004, I have served on the Education, Education Reform (past chair), and now as chairman of the Urban Education Committee. Prior to that, I worked as an engineer, earning four patents. These experiences are why I'm running and am qualified for DPI superintendent.
What differentiates you from your challenger?
I am a common-sense conservative who is focused on solutions. Tony Evers has spent the last four years promoting a failed status quo and seems more interested in what's good for that teacher's unions rather than what will help improve our children's education.
What is the biggest challenge facing Wisconsin schools? How would you address that?
The reallocation and mismanagement of revenue by the DPI. "Educrats" in Madison have created layer upon layer of bureaucracy in Wisconsin's school system, diverting millions of dollars away from school districts to pay for it. I would allow school districts to spend that money where they decide it is most beneficial.
On the subject of challenges facing schools. What are your thoughts on the Oconomowoc High School Transformation plan? What are other things schools can do to fix budget shortfalls that come in part from reduced state aid?
By asking their teachers to do more and paying them an additional salary for the work, the plan is allowing the district to save all the benefit money that five extra teachers would cost. This is a smart approach and I think other districts should study and implement similar plans.
Charter Schools that offer an individualized learning model are gaining momentum. There are two charter schools in the Kettle Moraine School District. How do you feel about this type of instruction compared to more traditional learning models?
Traditional schools may be a great choice for some students, but in today's environment, the one-size-fits-all model is no longer optimal. That's why I support charter schools, school choice, and the voucher program. This type of competition will make all schools better and will improve our education system.
Address: PO Box 270642, Hartford
Years lived in state: I was born in Wisconsin and have lived here for my entire life, with the exception of when I was serving in the military.
Occupation: Former engineer and now serving as citizen legislator
Education: Graduated from Marquette University in 1977 with a B.S.E.E.
Government experience: Since being elected to the Legislature in 2004, I've always been involved with education, serving on the Education, Education Reform (past chair), Colleges and Universities and now as the chairman of the Urban Education Committee
Military experience: US Air Force, 1965-69
Family: Married with three sons
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