Democratic Candidate Maldonado Accuses Superintendent Schroeder Of Bigotry

The lone Democrat running to take over as the states superintendent of schools is accusing incumbent Brian Schroeder of being guilty of bigotry because of his position on federal funding for school lunches.

LW
Leo Wolfson

June 30, 20224 min read

Collage Maker 29 Jun 2022 06 05 PM

The lone Democrat running to take over as the state’s superintendent of schools is accusing incumbent Brian Schroeder of being guilty of bigotry because of his position on federal funding for school lunches.

Sergio Maldonado Sr., a Wind River Reservation resident running for superintendent of public instruction, issued a statement criticizing Schroeder for his position against accepting federal demands that the state update its non-discrimination policies to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“His comments today would be laughable, if it were not for the fact that his brazen display of bigotry is harmful to Wyoming’s children, putting some kids in danger while displaying complete ignorance and lack of respect for marginalized people,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is calling for Wyoming and all other U.S. states to update their non-discrimination policies to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

State officials have resisted the request, saying past federal court rulings have found that actions such as labeling bathrooms as only available for “boys” and “girls” are a form of discrimination.

Cover The $40 Million

Schroeder, a Republican who was appointed by Gov. Mark Gordon in January, has suggested that Wyoming find its own way to cover the $40 million the USDA provides each year for school lunches to avoid having to comply on the issue. He pledged that children from low-income households will not go unfed in Wyoming and he will not allow boys in girls’ locker rooms. 

“Therefore, I call on all Wyomingites to appeal to their local legislators concerning the liberating prospects of severing our dependence on federal dollars,” Schroeder said in a news release. “Washington has shown its hand, and will never stop at forcing its woke agenda and ever-changing value system on people who refuse to embrace it. Be fully assured, this is not the end – they will be back (i.e. boys in girls sports, forced usage of pronouns, etc.).”

Schroeder did not immediately respond to requests for follow up comments regarding Maldonado’s statement.

Although the USDA school lunch funding does make up a small percentage of Wyoming’s roughly $2 billion biannual K-12 schools budget, the state receives more than 40% its Wyoming Department of Education funding from federal sources.

The state can ill-afford to give up federal funds at a time of falling state tax revenues, Maldonado said.

“Wyoming already struggles to meet the education funding mandates enshrined in our Wyoming Constitution,” he said. “If it weren’t for the infusion of federal dollars in the wake of the COVID pandemic massive cuts in all areas of the budget would have happened.”

“Back to Michigan”

Maldonado said Schroeder has been attempting to politicize education and said he looks forward to beating him in the election and “sending him back to Michigan where he lived until recently.” 

Schroeder hasn’t lived in Michigan since at least 2009. He moved to Wyoming from Wisconsin a few years ago.

Schroeder said he supports “the process of cutting ties with federal funds while upholding the constitutional mandate to financially sustain Wyoming public education,” an effort he considers “completely doable.”

But Maldonado disagreed.

“There is no way the state of Wyoming is going to turn away federal dollars, so his posturing is ridiculous,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado is the only Democratic candidate in the race for superintendent of public instruction. 

Jennifer Zerba, Megan Degenfelder, Robert White III and Thomas Kelly are running against Schroeder in the Republican primary.

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LW

Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter