WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) led its 10 p.m. news one night a few weeks ago with a story that the Milwaukee School Board had voted to spend up to $250,000 to fight the idea of giving control of the school system to Mayor Tom Barrett.
In the report, board member Tim Petersons told people who support the idea, “You’re calling people who voted for us incapable of making the right decisions.” And board member Larry Miller said, “We will resist the anti-democratic nature of this declaration.”
But democracy is an interesting subject when it comes to the School Board. In reality, Petersons won his first race for the board in 2007 as the only person on the ballot from a district covering the northwest side. Miller was the only person on the ballot when he won his first bid in April in a district covering much of the east side and near south side.
Voter turnout in the election in April, which included hotly contested races for the state superintendent of public instruction and a seat on the state Supreme Court, was just less than 10% citywide. In the February primary election, which included two contested School Board primaries, turnout was 4.3%.