School Choice Wisconsin v. Carolyn Stanford Taylor

Case Name: School Choice Wisconsin v. Carolyn Stanford Taylor

Type of Case: Good Government; School Choice

Court: Jefferson County Circuit Court

Case Number: 19-CV-519

Filed On: November 6, 2019

Current Status: Summary judgment motion filed, awaiting response from the state

State law is clear: certain types of data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs must be released “all at the same time, uniformly, and completely.” There are no exceptions. But on September 11, DPI chose to violate this straightforward law by releasing incomplete and misleading school choice data to a select media list a day before the September 12 public release.

DPI violated the law in three critical ways:

  • DPI released incomplete data on the school choice program to the news media, including journalist Matt Kittle, on September 11 – a day before the public release. This violated the law’s “all at the same time,” “uniform,” and “complete” requirements.
  • When WILL and WILL Research Director Will Flanders were denied the ability to participate in the September 11 press call, this violated the law’s “all at the same time,” “uniform,” and “complete” requirements.
  • DPI grouped the test scores of all Wisconsin choice students together in their press release. But Wisconsin’s three parental choice programs are different. The parental choice programs in Milwaukee and Racine have an income threshold of 300% of the poverty line, while the Wisconsin program is at 220%. Grouping Milwaukee, Racine, and Wisconsin together is misleading, and an unfair characterization of the choice program that violated the “uniform” and “complete” requirements.

This case marks the third time this year State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford-Taylor has been sued by WILL for violating state law. Stanford-Taylor is Governor Tony Evers’ hand-picked successor at the Department of Public Instruction – taking over in January 2019. WILL’s lawsuit reminds state agencies and unelected bureaucrats, once again, that they are accountable to state law.