Resisting taxpayer oversight and the open records law at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Jessie Opoien:

A WILL spokesman said on Tuesday that the organization had received the documents and its attorneys are currently reviewing them.

“It is deeply disappointing it has taken DPI months to comply with our request,” said WILL deputy counsel Tom Kamenick in a statement. “The public has a right to know how DPI is spending their money and whether any laws are being violated. Hopefully next time, DPI will do a better job at promptly responding to open records requests to avoid litigation.”

In response to the lawsuit and the judge’s ruling, DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said earlier this month that the records WILL had requested required redaction and staff time to prepare. McCarthy said the agency was following the open records law and would continue to do so.

According to the lawsuit, WILL first requested three sets of ESSA-related records in August 2018, then sent a follow-up email the following month. A DPI employee said the request was in progress on Sept. 21, 2018.

Kamenick followed up again on Nov. 12, and the request was partially fulfilled the following day. Portions of the request were denied for being “insufficiently specific” and “unreasonably burdensome,” and WILL send a narrowed request the following month, which DPI acknowledged on Dec. 13.

Related: The DPI, lead by Mr. Evers, granted thousands of elementary teacher reading content knowledge requirement exemptions.

Yet: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”.