Mike Falkofske

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Mike Falkofske
Mike Falkofske.jpg
Board member, Kenosha Board of Education, At-large
Former candidate
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 1, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Personal
ProfessionGIS specialist
Websites
Campaign website
Mike Falkofske campaign logo
Mike Falkofske was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Kenosha Board of Education in Wisconsin. He was defeated in the general election on April 1, 2014.

Biography

Falkofske earned a B.A. in geography and history from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1995. He has worked as a mapping specialist for MGP Inc. since 2000. Falkofske has three children who have attended or will attend district schools.[1][2]

Elections

2014

See also: Kenosha Unified School District elections (2014)

Opposition

Mike Falkofske ran against five other candidates in the February 18, 2014 primary election. The top four vote recipients advanced to the general election on April 1, 2014.

Results

General
Kenosha Unified School District, At-large General Election, 3-year term, April 1, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDan Wade 28.2% 6,858
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGary J. Kunich 26.1% 6,346
     Nonpartisan Mike Falkofske 23.4% 5,688
     Nonpartisan Jo Ann Taube Incumbent 22.3% 5,423
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.2% 43
Total Votes 24,358
Source: Kenosha County Clerk, "Spring Election," April 1, 2014
Primary
Kenosha Unified School District, At-large Primary Election, 3-year term, February 18, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJo Ann Taube Incumbent 19.7% 1,917
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGary J. Kunich 18.7% 1,826
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMike Falkofske 18.1% 1,764
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDan Wade 17.3% 1,688
     Nonpartisan Robert Nuzzo Incumbent 13% 1,271
     Nonpartisan Michael Kehoe 12.9% 1,255
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.2% 21
Total Votes 9,742
Source: Kenosha County Clerk, "Spring Primary Election," accessed February 18, 2014

Funding

Falkofske began the pre-election reporting period with an existing account balance of $3,793.55 from a previous report. He reported $3,720.00 in contributions and $2,353.22 in expenditures to the school board secretary, which left his campaign with $2,426.77 on hand.[3]

Endorsements

Falkofske was endorsed by the Kenosha Education Association ahead of the February 18, 2014 primary.[4] He earned the endorsement of the Kenosha News for the April 1 general election.[5]

Campaign themes

2014

Falkofske's campaign website listed the following themes for 2014:

  • I believe that the School Board Members are elected to be the voice of the electors of the District and the Superintendent is the executive hired by the School Board.
  • I will work to provide students with truly personalized learning programs where the high fliers are just as challenged as the students who struggle to learn.
  • I think that the local schools need to be empowered to resolve their own issues and provide learning environments best suited to their students of that particular school.
  • I will push the district for consistent enforcement of the code of conduct as well as stronger policies that discourage bullying at all levels.
  • I will monitor the District finances to ensure that taxpayer money is being used in the most effective manner to provide our students with excellent education they deserve.

[6]

—Mike Falkofske's campaign website, (2014), [7]

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

Involvement of outside groups

The Kenosha board election attracted significant resources from state and national groups seeking to influence board policies. Conservative group Americans for Prosperity joined the fray after the February primary with a field team conducting phone banks and door-to-door canvassing. State director David Fladeboe noted that the group did not support any particular candidate but shares concerns with district residents about the school board's 2013 contract negotiations with teachers. Jo Ann Taube expressed surprise about the group's involvement in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio:

I'm amazed they're (AFP) interested in a school board election in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where school board members receive a stipend $4,500 a year. [6]

Wisconsin Public Radio, (2014), [8]

A group of 60 demonstrators protested Americans for Prosperity's involvement in the election outside of the district's Educational Support Center on March 29. The protest was organized by the Kenosha Education Association, which backed Taube and Falkofske in the February primary. Outside groups including the Greater Wisconsin Committee ($10,000) and the Wisconsin Education Association Council ($8,500) financed automated calls and mailers opposing challengers Gary J. Kunich and Dan Wade.[9]

Accusations of racism

Former board member Pam Stevens accused Taube of racially charged remarks about minority students at district schools. Stevens cited comments made by Taube during a January 29 forum at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside regarding achievement gaps in the district. Stevens quoted Taube as saying that "if black males are the problem we have to look into that." Taube countered that the quote was distorted because Stevens supported Dan Wade and Gary J. Kunich ahead of the April 1 election. The Kenosha News published the full quote from Taube in a February 21 report:

There has been a concern nationally about over-identifying minority students, especially African American males. We need to understand that, but we also, if they pick up any bad habits, need to try to nip that in the bud as early as we can. [6]

Kenosha News, (2014), [10]

During the January 29 forum, Taube cited Head Start and early kindergarten programs as essential to teaching all students the social skills necessary for academic success. Wade explained his views on the achievement gap in response to Taube:

There is definitely inequality, I think, in the school system when it comes to minorities, and I believe the majority of that has to start at home, whether it be social skills or respect for authority and just respect in general...If they are not getting it at home, it may sound ridiculous, but maybe the parents should go back to school. [6]

Kenosha News, (2014), [10]

February 5th forum

All six candidates for the Kenosha Board of Education participated in a forum hosted by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance on February 5th. The candidates debated the selection of a new superintendent as well as the board's negotiations with the Kenosha Education Association over a new contract. Robert Nuzzo noted that dysfunction on the board drove away former superintendent Michele Hancock, forcing the selection of a new superintendent. Falkofske countered that Hancock hired friends as consultants and wasted resources on conferences rather than classroom expenses. Falkofske argued that the district needed an experienced superintendent to improve academic performance.[11]

Gary J. Kunich and Dan Wade took current board members to task for negotiating a new contract with the teacher's union in fall 2013. Both candidates believe that the contract violates Act 10, a state law restricting collective bargaining. Wade's daughter, a former teacher in the district, filed suit against the district in November 2013 with the help of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. Jo Ann Taube argued that the new contract provided a stable working environment for teachers and staff after two years of uncertainty.[11][12]

Issues in the district

Board negotiations with teachers' union

In November 2013, the Board of Education agreed to a new contract with the Kenosha Education Association (KEA) by a 4-3 vote. This agreement with the teachers' union drew attention because collective bargaining over public employee salaries is limited by state law under Act 10. This 2011 law also prohibits employers from withdrawing involuntary contributions to public employee unions from wages. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), a conservative legal aid organization, and Kristi Lacroix attempted to block the contract in court after the board vote. The WILL argued that the contract exceeded salary increase limits in Act 10. District officials countered that teachers were given one-time bonuses rather than salary increases under the agreement.[13]

A 4-3 vote by the board during a June 5, 2014 meeting settled the lawsuit with WILL by paying $10,500 in legal fees. This settlement also nullified the 2013 agreement with the KEA.[14]

Censure vote for Kyle Flood

The Board of Education unanimously voted during a February 25, 2014 meeting to censure board member Kyle Flood for citations issued by University of Wisconsin-Whitewater police officers.[15] Flood, a student at the university, was ticketed for possession of drug paraphernalia on November 11, 2013 and vandalism in late December 2013. On February 14, 2013, Flood issued an apology but stated that he will not resign from the board.

The censure vote was supported by board president Rebecca Stevens and Jo Ann Taube. Both members noted the district's efforts to ensure drug-free campuses in their support for the vote. District resident and former teacher Kristi Lacroix initiated an online petition to force Flood's removal from office after the incident became public. This petition effort did not lead to a recall or Flood's resignation.[16]

About the district

See also: Kenosha Unified School District, Wisconsin
Kenosha Unified School District is located in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Kenosha Unified School District is located in Kenosha, the county seat for Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Kenosha is home to 100,150 residents according to the U.S. Census.[17] Kenosha Unified School District is the third-largest school district in Wisconsin, serving 22,986 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[18]

Demographics

Kenosha underperformed in comparison to the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 22.9 percent of Kenosha residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.4 percent for Wisconsin as a whole. The median household income in Kenosha was $49,641 compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin. The poverty rate in Kenosha was 16.2 percent compared to 12.5 percent for the entire state.[17]

Racial Demographics, 2010[17]
Race Kenosha (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 77.1 86.2
Black or African American 10.0 6.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 1.0
Asian 1.7 2.3
Two or More Races 3.8 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 16.3 5.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[19]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 55.4 43.2
2008 58.1 40.1
2004 52.4 46.5

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100.0%. Each column will add up to 100.0% after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[20]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References

  1. LinkedIn, "Mike Falkofske," accessed January 31, 2014
  2. Campaign to Elect Mike Falkofske, "Biography," accessed February 25, 2014
  3. Information submitted to Ballotpedia through e-mail from Stacy Busby on March 25, 2014.
  4. Kenosha Education Association, "The Non-Endorsed Candidates for School Board," February 14, 2014
  5. Kenosha News, "Falkofske, Wade for Unified School Board," March 30, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. Campaign to Elect Mike Falkofske, "Home," accessed February 25, 2014
  8. Wisconsin Public Radio, "Americans For Prosperity Gets Involved In Kenosha School Board Election," March 27, 2014
  9. Kenosha News, "Demonstration draws 60 to ESC," March 30, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Kenosha News, "Racism accusation aimed at School Board member," February 21, 2014
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named forum
  12. Wisconsin Reporter, "Sauk Prairie school board may have violated Act 10 with new teachers’ contract," November 27, 2013
  13. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Kenosha schools, teachers union at odds over deducting union dues," February 11, 2014
  14. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Kenosha School Board settles lawsuit over Act 10 dispute," June 6, 2014
  15. Kenosha News, "School board votes to censure Flood," February 25, 2014
  16. Kenosha News, "Unified board president, vice president support Flood censure," February 14, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 United States Census Bureau, "Kenosha, Wisconsin," accessed January 31, 2014
  18. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
  19. Kenosha County Clerk, "Previous Election Results," accessed January 31, 2014
  20. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014