Not even 48 hours after winning her Madison school board primary race with over 45% of the vote, Sarah Manski has dropped out of the race to replace Maya Cole.
In a message to her supporters Thursday afternoon, Manski writes, "I regret to say that due to family and career needs, I sadly withdraw from the race for the Madison school board. Because I value honesty and transparency I am letting the public know about this development now. My name will remain on the ballot but I will not campaign in the coming weeks."
Manski says that her husband, Ben Manski, has been admitted to a sociology PhD program in California.
Manski's race against TJ Mertz, who came in second in the primary with 32%, became heated immediately Tuesday night when Mertz attempted to cast Manski as inexperienced and in the race only to gain political stature.
"I think as the voters learn more about the candidates, I'll emerge in first place," Mertz said Tuesday.
Manski fired back, casting Mertz as a "blogger and a critic," not a leader. And in an email seeking donations from supporters Wednesday morning, Manski wrote, "We're facing an unfriendly opponent and will need to raise another $8,000."
Neither Sarah nor Ben Manski returned calls from Isthmus for comment Thursday afternoon.
Regardless of her plans, Manski's name will remain on the ballot for the April 2 general election against Mertz, an assistant city clerk confirmed. In fact, Manski could still win the election.
"People have won elections in the U.S. when dead," the clerk said.
The full text of Manski's message follows.
With sincere thanks to my friends, supporters, and neighbors who voted on Tuesday, and deep gratitude to the many education, community, labor, and business leaders who have supported me, I regret to say that due to family and career needs, I sadly withdraw from the race for the Madison school board. Because I value honesty and transparency I am letting the public know about this development now. My name will remain on the ballot but I will not campaign in the coming weeks.
I have just learned that my husband had been admitted to sociology PhD programs in California, but not in Wisconsin or other nearby schools. This is obviously a very positive step in his career development and important to us. It also means I will be unable to serve my full term if elected, and for this reason I am withdrawing from the race.
I entered this race on December 19th, 2012 at the request of teachers, school board members, and community leaders. As the race has progressed I've had the opportunity to meet with many amazing faculty and staff members in the Madison schools as well as community leaders who are making a difference. I looked forward with enthusiasm to the possibility of working with them as a member of the school board and am sad that I won't have that opportunity to serve our community's children and parents.
It is clear now if it weren't already that TJ Mertz is as he says, "passionate about education." And he can be counted on to push back against the corporate takeover of our schools. While TJ and I take different approaches toward our goals, I know that he will work tirelessly to look out for Madison area students. I also got to know Ananda Mirilli in the course of this campaign as well, and I agree with her supporters that she is doing important work in the Madison community. This said, protecting public education is not the job of one person, or even a single board of education. It is up to everyone in our communities to continue to promote democracy, not austerity for our children and future generations of Wisconsinites.
I had planned in the coming weeks to lay out new proposals for the Madison schools, including setting hard benchmarks for the recruitment and retention of teachers and staff of color, as well as a city-school partnership to alleviate the impacts of childhood poverty on children's achievement in our schools.
In my remaining time here, I will remain active in the Wisconsin Wave and the broader movement. I first moved to Madison in 1997 and met my future husband here in 1996. This our hometown, and while we are both looking forward to new and fortunate opportunities, we will miss Wisconsin.
Jason Joyce and Joe Tarr contributed to this report.