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Governor Tony Evers Visits Merrill Elementary

Following his recent $90 million education investment, Gov. Tony Evers visited Merrill Elementary School in Beloit on Friday where Principal Brandye Hereford and other Merrill administrators gave the Governor a tour of the school.

When Evers entered one classroom, he asked the students if they had any questions for him. One young girl told the Governor that he looked like someone she saw in a movie once, while one young boy said to the Governor, “You look like Joe Biden.”

The Merrill staff and others laughed while the Governor replied, “That’s a compliment. He’s the president of the United States.”

“They’re (teachers, staff) just dedicated to learning and making sure that these kids have representation—they can see themselves in a lot of the folks that work here,” Evers said. “But also the work they do, they take it to a different level.”

Evers added that he has just provided the district more money through federal funds for mental health and other things the district can use to help them recover from the pandemic. The Beloit School District will be getting around $200,000 for mental health, Evers said.

Evers’ recent $90 million investment in Wisconsin schools includes $15 million to double the governor’s “Get Kids Ahead” initiative to provide mental health services in K-12 schools in the state, as well as $75 million designed to give districts flexibility to meet staffing needs, keep classroom sizes small, and provide other direct classroom support.

“Much of our work as a state is around K-12 kids,” Evers said. “It’s important for me to connect again, I used to do this full-time. The money is so important because the pandemic was so problematic for our kids and teachers and it made things more difficult.”

He added that his background in education has helped him as Governor. K-12 education, the University of Wisconsin System, and other education systems are very important to Wisconsin’s economy, Evers said.

“Having come from the K-12 world, I understand how things work and how important resources are,” Evers said. “It just kills me when I hear my opponent say it’s insane that we would consider giving more money to charter schools. Every year the costs go up and you can teach 100,000 kids with the same resources every year.”

“I know one of the things that a lot of administrators and teachers talk about is the shortage of teachers and making sure we have qualified people working in the classrooms and whatever we can do to encourage people to move into education,” Evers said.