'Rural districts couldn't compete:' Wisconsin's schools after a decade of Act 10
FRIENDSHIP, Wis. — When the legislation that would later become known as Act 10 first began to engulf Wisconsin in one of its bitterest political battles, Adams-Friendship school district administrator Tom Wermuth was a principal in the River Valley school district in Spring Green, about forty miles west of Madison.
He’d started there in 1998, wearing many hats throughout his tenure including teacher, pupil services director, principal, eventual district administrator. He held that last title until 2019, when after considering retirement–he opted instead to move to Adams County, where he took the district administrator role.
He’s used to tightly-knit, rural districts and the positives and challenges that come with them. Close to Madison and the protests that came with Act 10, he would stay in the industry as many others left in the wake of the legislation that cut collective bargaining rights for public employees and effectively cut their paychecks by increasing their share of benefit payments. The chaotic, bitterly-fought passage of the bill prompted a wave of recall elections and forever reshaped Wisconsin politics in the decade that followed. …
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