Thomas Fineran

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Thomas Fineran
Thomas Fineran.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, Racine Board of Education, At-large
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 1, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Master'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Campaign website
Thomas Fineran campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Thomas Fineran was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Racine Board of Education in Wisconsin. He sought election to the board in the general election on April 1, 2014 but withdrew from consideration on March 24. His name still appeared on the ballot.[1]


Fineran earned a B.S. in secondary education and economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He later received master's degrees in administrative leadership and industrial labor relations from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Fineran worked for 22 years as a high school teacher at Milwaukee Public Schools. He later served as executive director of the Southwestern Education Association for 11 years. Fineran and his wife, Jennifer, have two adult children.[2]



See also: Racine Unified School District elections (2014)


Thomas Fineran ran against six other candidates for four available seats during the general election on April 1, 2014.


Racine Unified School District, At-large General Election, 3-year term, April 1, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMelvin Hargrove Incumbent 18.6% 4,326
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDennis Wiser Incumbent 17.2% 3,996
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngPamala Handrow Incumbent 17% 3,954
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngWally Rendón Incumbent 14.4% 3,355
     Nonpartisan Jacqueline Pinager 12% 2,795
     Nonpartisan Henry Perez 12% 2,790
     Nonpartisan Thomas Fineran 8.2% 1,915
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 95
Total Votes 23,226
Source: Racine Unified School District, "Canvass Committee Report," April 8, 2014


Fineran was exempted from filing a pre-election campaign finance report to the school district clerk by the March 24, 2014 deadline.[3] State law allows candidates to claim exempt status from campaign finance reporting if contributions and expenditures do not exceed $1,000 during a calendar year.[4]


Fineran received the following endorsements in 2014:[5]

  • Racine Education Association/Racine Educational Assistants Association
  • AFL-CIO of Racine County
  • Democratic Party of Racine County

Campaign themes


Fineran's campaign website listed his major themes for 2014:

Great schools place students in classrooms that work and depend on great teachers and staff.

Wisconsin's great schools did not become great by accident, and their quality cannot be maintained and improved without strong, active, pro-public education school boards. Parental and community involvement and support are essential to school quality, as well as a local school board that puts the needs of great schools and children first.

School boards are a large part of the system of laws and policies that have a great deal of influence over the work and livelihoods of school employees and the future of Wisconsin’s schoolchildren. It is the duty of everyone who cares about public schools to remain active in their local schools. One way of fulfilling this duty is by running for school board or becoming actively involved in the campaign of a school board candidate you support.

I care deeply about public education and public schools. I have spent my entire adult life involved with public education. Having recently retired, I have decided to run for a position on the Racine Unified School District Board of Education.

School boards should be full of people who understand education, education issues, and see the needs of schoolchildren as paramount to Racine and the villages that encompass Racine Unified School District’s success in the future. Great schools place students in classrooms that work and depend on great teachers and staff. When school boards support measures that improve the lives and working conditions of school employees, they do so because these measures encourage talented and skilled people to work, and continue working, in Racine Unified classrooms.

School boards need members who are concerned with the future of our great schools rather than short-term goals. These contrasting missions are a big part of why some school board elections become contentious.

Three top areas to be addressed:

  • Attracting and retaining high-quality employees in RUSD;
  • Relevant and rigorous professional development for administration, support staff and teachers (also Board members);
  • Procuring funding for public education here in our area.


—Thomas Fineran's campaign website (2014) [7]

What was at stake?

Incumbents Pamala Handrow, Melvin Hargrove, Wally Rendón and Dennis Wiser won re-election against Jacqueline Pinager and Henry Perez. Rendón was appointed in September 2013 to replace Gretchen Warner. State law required Rendón to seek election since Warner resigned prior to her last year in office. Hargrove, Handrow and Wiser won full terms while Rendón earned a one-year unexpired term by placing fourth. The leadership of the board was at stake on April 1 as Wiser serves as the board president, Hargrove serves as vice president and Handrow serves as the clerk.[8] Fineran withdrew from the race on March 24 but his name still appeared on the ballot.[9]

About the district

See also: Racine Unified School District, Wisconsin
Racine Unified School District is located in Racine , Wisconsin
Racine Unified School District is located in Racine, Wisconsin. Racine is the county seat of Racine County. According to the United States Census Bureau, Racine is home to 78,303 residents.[10] Racine Unified School District is the fourth-largest school district in Wisconsin, serving 21,100 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[11]


Racine underperformed in comparison to the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 16.6 percent of Racine 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 Racine was $38,789 compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin. The poverty rate in Racine was 21.5 percent compared to 12.5 percent for the entire state.[10]

Racial Demographics, 2010[10]
Race Racine (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 61.8 86.2
Black or African American 22.6 6.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 1.0
Asian 0.8 2.3
Two or More Races 4.0 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 20.7 5.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[12]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 50.8 47.3
2008 52.7 45.4
2004 47.3 51.4

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[13][14]

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