Faces change on WA-WM School Board

Two incumbents fall as three newcomers sign on

April 6, 2011

West Allis — The two incumbents on the West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board finished last in the six-way race for three seats in the April 5 election.

Jane Edgar was seeking her first full term on the board and Barbara Suleiman was seeking her second.

But newcomers Gail Radonski with 19.6 percent of the vote, Daniel Bailey with 17.9 percent and Kristi Bonaparte with 16.8 percent won the day. Totals for the other candidates are 16.6 percent for James Blask, 14.9 percent for Suleiman and 14.7 percent for Edgar.

The unofficial vote totals are:

Gail Radonski 5,515

Daniel Bailey 5,179

Kristi Bonaparte 4,853

James Blask 4,809

Barbara Suleiman (inc.) 4,315

Jane Edgar (inc.) 4,263

Election results remain unofficial until they are certified by the board of canvassers.

Radonski was a little amazed that she came out on top.

"The only thing I talked about is I'm not a politician. I have no political agendas. I think people were looking for somebody with common sense to represent other people with common sense," Radonski said.

The first thing she would like to do, she said, is look into aides allegedly being forced to retire early. Many of those aides worked with special education students who were left in the middle of the year.

Bailey said budget issues seemed to be most on the minds of voters.

In his campaign he said, "the community needs to be more involved" in raising money for the schools, perhaps through networking with companies and holding more fundraisers.

Bailey said he is looking forward to seeing if the schools can get back to being blue ribbon facilities again and to exploring why the district's bond rating dropped and how it can be restored.

Bonaparte said that, perhaps by not electing either incumbent, voters were indeed sending a message.

In her campaign, she stressed only her experience in the schools, she said.

"I've done just about everything in the schools," she said. "And I want to keep the schools as good as they are," despite the tough times ahead.

Edgar said she was disappointed at losing her seat on the board.

"This past year has been more challenging and more satisfying than I thought it would be," she said, adding the new board will face "dire times ahead."

But she said, "I'm confident the incumbents and newly elected board members will step up and meet these challenges with gusto. Mr. Wachholz, the administrators and teachers are on the same page with providing our kids the best education available. This is a great community."

Reflecting a little, Edgar said, "My big consolation, in addition to having served the school district for one year, is that I won the majority of votes in West Milwaukee, my home."

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