Newly elected state Superintendent Jill Underly said comments by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos about her election made her “really sad,” but she looks forward to working with the Rochester Republican and the GOP-controlled Legislature.
After Underly’s win, Vos tweeted that the teacher’s union “owns” DPI, and he would not support “putting another nickel into this unaccountable state bureaucracy.”
“That comment made me really sad, because he doesn’t know me,” Underly said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
“I feel that I’m somebody who wants the same things, as most people in Wisconsin do. We want strong public schools. I feel that there is plenty of common ground, and I’m looking forward to working with Rep. Vos, I’m looking forward to working with the Legislature,” she said.
“At the end of the day, I don’t mind who people voted for. But I think we can all agree that it’s about kids, and it’s about our public schools, and we need to do whatever it takes to make sure that our public schools are successful,” Underly said.
With some school districts around the state moving to do away with mask requirements, even as COVID-19 cases climb again, “UpFront” host Joyce Garbaciak asked Underly for her opinion on school mask requirements.
“As far as mitigating spread, they say that masks (are) the number one way to do so. And I feel that is, that’s what we need to do to keep our buildings open. I think we should be wearing masks. But again, that’s my recommendation, I believe in the science. But I do feel that each school district is going to have to make that decision for themselves,” Underly said.
Underly also said DPI will be able to use federal stimulus money to help schools as the pandemic continues. She also said schools could help students who have lost learning over the past year by moving up start dates, implementing after-school programs, offering summer school or remediation and enrichment programs.
In another segment, a Federal Emergency Management Agency regional administrator said FEMA would be in Wisconsin “for the long haul” running mass vaccination sites in three cities.
FEMA has vaccination sites at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, and Zorn Arena on the UW-Eau Claire campus.
“We felt as though those locations (were) where we could actually get the most bang for our buck with providing the vaccinations to the most needy and the most vulnerable population in Wisconsin,” said acting regional administrator Kevin Sligh of FEMA’s Chicago office.
The Wisconsin Center is capable of providing 4,000 shots a day on site and at two Milwaukee high schools that are part of FEMA’s “hub-and-spoke” delivery system, Sligh said.
He also said FEMA is working closely with its state partners to provide expedited funding, medical staffing and wrap-around services for the sites.
See more from the program: