Voters will head to the polls Tuesday, casting ballots in statewide races for Wisconsin State Superintendent and Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

The April 6 ballots also will feature many local school and municipal races, including contested races for a Ladysmith city council seat and Bruce village trustee. A Bruce school referendum also hangs in the balance.

The State Superintendent race features Jill Underly and Deborah Kerr for a vacancy resulting from the decision by incumbent Carolyn Stanford Taylor to not seek re-election after being appointed to the position in January of 2019.

Kerr, who stepped down last year after 13 years as superintendent of Brown Deer schools in suburban Milwaukee County, has also served as president of the national School Superintendents Association and co-chair of the UW System Task Force for Advancing Teachers and School Leaders. She has widespread backing from Republicans, calling herself a “pragmatic Democrat” and supporting the private school voucher program.

Underly, currently superintendent of Pecatonica Area School District in southwest Wisconsin, previously worked as a teacher, principal and assistant director of teacher education for the state Department of Public Instruction. She is backed by teachers unions, including the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals District III covering the northern half of the state features two candidates seeking a 6-year term on the bench. Rick Cveykus and Gregory Gill, Jr. are competing for the District III Court of Appeals seat being vacated by Judge Mark Seidl, who is not seeking re-election.

Cveykus is an attorney and community leader, currently the managing partner at Cveykus Law in Wausau. He has built a broad practice in criminal law, family law and small claims. Cveykus is heavily involved in the community, and is the former President of the Marathon County Bar and the Marathon County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors for Marathon Counseling and Residential Services. 

Gill has served as an Outagamie County circuit court judge for the last 9 years.  He was originally appointed to the position by former Governor Scott Walker and has since been twice re-elected.  Prior to his time on the bench, Gill was most recently, a partner at his family’s law firm, Gill & Gill.  His practice focused primarily on labor and employment law.  Before his time in private practice, he was a law clerk for Federal District Court Judge William C. Griesbach.  

Gill has received donations and endorsements from dozens of important Republican officials. Cveykus has taken out several personal loans to keep up. 

“In some cases, if there has been a change in meaning over the years, I believe that we must look backwards,” Gill states on his campaign website. “In essence, that means reading the text of the constitution through an originalist lens. Originalists believe that the constitutional text ought to be given the original public meaning that it would have had at the time that it became law.”

“The people of northern Wisconsin deserve judges who will work every day to ensure our legal system is open, fair and treats every Wisconsinite with dignity,” said Cveykus in announcing his campaign. “I have built my career on helping people in the most stressful situations navigate our often daunting legal system. As an appeals court judge, I intend to help make our system work better, not just maintain the status quo.”

There will also be local municipal and schools decisions on the ballot.

Bruce School District voters will be asked to decide a referendum question asking permission to exceed the revenue limit for five years from the 2021-22 to the 2025-26 school years by $400,000 per year for non-recurring purposes consisting of operating expenses.

The new referendum would be a continuation of an existing referendum scheduled to expire soon.

Using the 2020-2021 property valuation, the $400,000 referendum per year for five years is an equal amount to the current referendum, according to School District Administrator Pat Sturzl.

“There would be no school property tax increase compared to last year,” Sturzl said.

To maintain the current referendum the effect would be about 11.6 cents for every $1,000 of equalized property value. This translates to $8.67 yearly on a $75,000 home, $11.56 yearly on a $100,000 home and $14.45 yearly on a $125,000 home.

“The district will use the referendum dollars to maintain and update the school facility along with providing a quality education for our students. The referendum will help meet the needs of the students at Bruce by providing up to date curriculum and technology,” Sturzl said.

The city of Ladysmith ballot features only one locally contested race, between incumbent John Kenyon and challenger Jim West for District 5 alderman.

The village of Bruce ballot also features a packed trustee race, where voters will fill three positions contested between Jim Johnson, Brenda Popple, Loren Beebe, Jason Frey, Galen McGee Brainerd and Rachel Smith.

The Chetek-Weyerhaeuser School Board race features Carrie Traczyk, Austin Chamberlain and Janene Haselhuhn vying for two positions.

Poll sites will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

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