Wisconsin state schools superintendent Tony Evers, who openly sparred with Gov. Scott Walker over his collective bargaining proposal but worked closely with him on other initiatives, told The Associated Press on Friday that he plans to seek another term.
The post is nonpartisan and no one has announced plans to challenge Evers, who has been raising money and was widely expected to seek another term.
"I am absolutely jazzed about the future of our schools and working with our schools to make them stronger on achievement," Evers told the AP in a telephone interview announcing his candidacy.
Evers, 60, was first elected to the position in April 2009. He is up for re-election on April 2 and challengers must submit the required paperwork with the state by Jan. 2.
He listed a number of achievements during his term, including the adoption and implementation of new state standards, the creation of additional dual enrollment opportunities and the creation of a new assessment system to replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam.
Evers also touted implementing a replacement to No Child Left Behind and creating a new educator evaluator system. Evers worked with Walker on starting new early literacy screening for kindergarten students and creating a new program that applies experience in the private sector toward college course credit.
"I've been able to work with him in areas where we agree, where we can find common ground," Evers said of his relationship with Walker. "We've been able to work together on several important initiatives. I disagree with him on the policy issues and that's just the way it's going to be."
A Walker campaign spokesman declined to comment on whether the governor would endorse Evers.
Evers spoke out against Walker's law taking away collective bargaining rights from teachers and other public workers, and as recently as September renewed his criticism of the law, saying educators were unfairly targeted. The superintendent also opposed a law change pushed by Walker that gave the governor the power to approve or block new education rules and policies from the Department of Public Instruction.
Just last week, a judge struck down the law as unconstitutional. Evers praised the ruling, which Walker vowed to appeal.
Evers has been pushing a revamping of the state formula for providing aid to schools, but the proposal has gone nowhere in the Legislature. He's also proposed extending the new statewide accountability system to voucher schools. He plans to release other new spending initiatives as part of DPI's budget on Monday.
Evers said he has raised about $60,000 for the race so far and has established a broad coalition of people who will support his candidacy.
"I believe we've set a good course here over the last three and a half years," Evers said. "I believe we're on the right track."