For immediate release

March 28, 2005

For more information contact:

Glen Tilot, Jim Morrison

(920) 490-7300                                                              


Candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction respond to Project VOTE


GREEN BAY – The two candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the April 5 election presented their positions on important issues in responses to questions posed by the local group Project VOTE.

Candidates Elizabeth Burmaster and Gregg Underheim responded to questions about five important issues facing education in Wisconsin. Among the issues are student achievement, school funding, innovative programs and the role of the state superintendent.

The Project VOTE questions and the candidates’ answers can be found online at Project VOTE’s Web site at At the site, click on “News from Project VOTE.”

The candidates identified what they see as the major issues facing K-12 education in the next five years.

“Our first challenge is raising the achievement of all students and closing the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students, students of color, and their peers,” Burmaster said. “The accompanying challenge is how we fund quality educational experiences over the next five years through other sources of funding than the local property tax.”

Responding to the same question, Underheim said, “The most important issue facing K-12 education today is that the cost of public education is undermining support for public instruction. To address this situation we must change the conversation in education to talk about ways we can make education more cost effective. A secondary issue is the lack of vision in the Department of Public Instruction.”

The nonpartisan race for Superintendent of Public Instruction is the only contested statewide race on the April 5 ballot. The Superintendent is a state constitutional officer who is elected to a four-year term.

Burmaster, the incumbent, was elected Superintendent in 2001. She is former principal of Madison West High School. Underheim is a state representative who has been elected to the state Assembly since 1987.

Project VOTE encourages voters to watch a Wisconsin Public Television debate involving the two candidates at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1. The debate will be televised locally on WPNE-TV, Channel 38.

Project VOTE (Voice of the Electorate) is a local nonpartisan group working to increase voter turnout and awareness in Brown County. Other Project VOTE efforts include candidate forums, public service announcements, and competition among local municipalities for the highest voter turnout.

In addition to the Superintendent election, the April 5 elections will feature municipal and school board races and numerous referenda.