Here are the 26 People Vying for One Open School Board Seat

As Madison school board members prepare to appoint a replacement for longtime Madison Metropolitan School Board (MMSD) member Mary Burke, they have 26 applications to look through. 

MMSD policy requires that the Board choose an immediate replacement to fill Burke’s seat within 60 days of her departure. However, a Wisconsin state statute requires that appointees win election in the next possible spring, in 2020, to continue their service on the board.  Additionally, because the person appointed to Burke’s seat would be serving out her original three-year term, that person would be up for re-election yet again in 2021. 

Those interested in applying for the vacant board seat was asked to complete a short statement describing their views on critical issues facing the district, and early thoughts about how those issues might be addressed. Those applications were due July 19, and were posted online for public transparency. 

Board members plan to discuss potential applicants and select a new board member at its July 22 meeting.  

Here’s a look at the applicants, in alphabetical order:

David Aguayo is an executive assistant in the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and has previously held positions as a paralegal in with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and as a commissioner with the Washington D.C. Commission on Latino Community Development. He expressed interested in seeking alternatives to detention as a disciplinary practice, and highlighted the need to attract and retain more teachers of color in MMSD schools. 

Erin Arango-Escalante is the administrator for the Division of Early Care and Education at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and previously held positions at WIDA within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Arango-Escalante, a graduate of MMSD schools, identified issues with funding streams for English Language Learner (ELL) students, community-based early education opportunities, and family outreach as core to her goals as a potential board member. 

Micah Ariel-Rohr is a former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher, and currently serves as assistant director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel.

Madison Nonprofit Wins eBay SHINE Award, Needs Votes for Grand Prize

Freewheel, a Madison non-profit which advocates for making bikes accessible for everyone within the community, was distinguished by eBay as one of eight SHINE Awards winners, and is now up for the grand prize -- but needs votes to get there. 

The SHINE Awards aim to honor small businesses and non-profit organizations who are using eBay as a partner for fundraising initiatives. Freewheel sells bikes on eBay and invests the revenue in providing free bikes and bike maintenance to those in need here in Madison.

Hundreds Gather to Protest ICE, Border Patrol

Several hundred people gathered at Brittingham Park in Madison across two events on Friday evening to speak out against the detention of children and families at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

A rally hosted by the Close the Concentration Camps Coalition met earlier in the evening at a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, and marched about a mile to the park for a candlelight vigil held in conjunction with Lights for Liberty.

Second Harvest Food Bank Partners with UW to Pilot Online Ordering System

Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin is launching a pilot program called “Helpful Harvest” to test the possibility of using an online free food ordering system to connect people who are qualified for receiving the resources.

The three-month pilot began in June, providing free groceries for anyone who submits an order through their website. Second Harvest officials hope the relative anonymity of online ordering helps people who might be reluctant to walk into a food pantry.

Revel Craft Bar Offers Crafting for Grown-Ups

Gretchen Underwood is a parent and a preschool teacher. Countless times, she's set up crafting projects for kids and her students, but now it's her turn to get crafty. Revel, in the Parkside building on Hamilton Street in downtown Madison, brings meaning to the idea of a “craft bar” by featuring do-it-yourself projects for adults in a casual, social setting. “Where else can you do anything like this?” Underwood said. “This is my cup of tea. I put things out for my students but I never get to create with them, so it’s pretty exciting.” 

Festival of Speed to Hit Fitchburg Saturday

This Saturday, July 13, both bicycle fans and interested families are called by Fitchburg to the city’s Agora Pavilion for the second annual Festival of Speed, a day of harsh competition followed by some family-friendly fun. “With this being the Wisconsin state criterium championship, obviously it is something that happens once a year so it is very unique. If you are a big bicycle follower, this is right in your wheelhouse ... We also have the two national touring bands, Twin XL and New Politics, so it’s an all-encompassing day,” said event manager Lucas Molloy. Criterium is a form of bicycle racing that takes several laps of a closed course.

Fourth Annual Westfest at Elver Park Will Highlight Diversity of Madison’s Southwest Side

From our content partner, Madison365

 District 1 Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney knows that people like to focus on some of the negative things that they hear and read about Madison’s southwest side, but she wants people to know that there are way more positive things happening in that part of the city. “Sure, we have our series of problems and things that we have to work through - we’re not denying that. But we also have a richness of people on the southwest side that really care about each other and humanity and are doing great things,” she says. “We want to highlight that at West Fest.”

The 4th annual Westfest will be held this Saturday, July 6, at Elver Park and it will be a fun-filled, intergenerational summer festival that will showcase the diversity of Madison’s southwest side.  

“I’m really excited about this year’s fest. We are in our fourth year and we have a really good team who have fundraised really well and we will be even bigger this year,” Harrington-McKinney tells Madison365.