The News: Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier issued a summary judgement ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated state law when the state agency released partial data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs to a select media list ahead of a September 2019 public release. The Court’s decision includes a permanent injunction to prevent DPI from violating state law that says data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs must be released “all at the same time, uniformly, and completely.”
WILL sued DPI in Jefferson County in November 2019 on behalf of School Choice Wisconsin (SCW), Empower Wisconsin journalist Matt Kittle, and WILL Research Director Will Flanders.
The Court’s Decision: Judge Brantmeier ruled that DPI’s actions violated state law by providing press with early access and by releasing incomplete data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs. Judge Brantmeier declined to restrict the state Superintendent’s ability to comment on the data it releases but emphasized that DPI remains bound to release full data sets on equal terms to all Wisconsinites.
Why It Matters: Wisconsin’s state agencies must understand that following state law is not optional. This is another victory for a more accountable state government.
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