Now that both houses of the state Legislature have passed a bill that will fill a vacant seat on the Racine Unified school board, it heads to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk to become law.
In a nutshell, the bill directs school boards to craft policies and procedures for filling vacant seats in the event that board members cannot make a decision on their own. Co-sponsors state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Rep. Tom Weatherston, R-Caledonia, wrote the bill so that in Racine Unified, Board of Education President Melvin Hargrove can immediately fill the open seat created when Lisa Parham resigned in June.
After the elections next April, though, the bill applies equally to RUSD and all other school districts across the state.
Whether or not Walker will sign the bill remains to be seen, but he told The Journal Times he doesn’t really see any issues with it.
“I haven’t committed one way or the other but I didn’t see any problems with it,” he is quoted as saying.
Weatherston defends the bill, saying it restores order after the Unified board couldn’t break a tie over former board member Wally Rendon and newcomer John Koetz after 35 votes were taken. But state Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha, said the bill is just another example of Republican hypocrisy.
“I don’t like big government sticking their nose into local affairs and I’m shocked that Republicans campaign on smaller government and they keep on giving us big government solutions,” Wirch told the newspaper. “And I think that’s wrong.”
Walker could sign the bill as early as this week.