Candidates for state superintendent of public instruction face off in Wisconsin Spring Election

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- A bitter battle in the race for state school superintendent is almost over, and the candidates spent Monday, April 5 pressing for votes.

Polls open at 7 a.m. in Milwaukee and at other polling places around the state. 

The candidates hope the nice weather will draw a good-sized crowd.

The sun was shining on the last day before the election, in a race that hasn't always been so sunny.

“I’ve got a great record of public school advocacy. Meanwhile my opponent is still dogging a scandal for the past 10 years,” said Jill Underly.

“I had never anticipated the name calling, the unprofessional behavior from a colleague, a former colleague of mine,” said Deborah Kerr.

Jill Underly and Deborah Kerr both want to become the state's next school superintendent.

“I think at the end of the day, voters need to know that I’m firmly on the side of kids and our taxpayers, both,’ said Underly.

“I have cross sector experience in private, public and charter schools,” said Kerr.

Deborah Kerr was joined by conservatives, stumping for votes in Muskego Monday.

“I want to de-centralize DPI and get rid of the bureaucracy in Madison. Enough is enough,” said Kerr.

“It is so absolutely critical is that we get our conservative voices in these local elections,” said U.S. Congressman Bryan Steil, of the 1st district.

Jill Underly hosted two events in Milwaukee on the final day.

"I'm the candidate that has better judgment," she said.

"My opponent does not have the experiences that I do," said Kerr.

A question on a lot of voters' minds -- when will all of Wisconsin's students be back in the classroom?

“And I think certainly that getting our teachers the vaccines is a huge step forward. Beyond that we need to make sure that our school buildings are safe,” said Underly.

“A lot of parents that I know that have kids in the area, that’s one of their highest priorities is making sure that their kids are in school five days a week, and she’s the one candidate that’s advocating for that,” said Kerr supporter, Dan Dombrowski.

The winner replaces Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who was appointed by Governor Evers when he left the position to become governor.

Taylor did not seek to keep it.

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