WILL Prepares Legal Challenge Against Wisconsin School District for Financial Mismanagement

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has prepared a legal action against the Marinette School District for unlawfully wasting taxpayer dollars on an unused, vacant school building that is no longer operational. Despite being offered the asking price for the property, the Marinette School District has refused to sell it to a small Catholic school stating they do not want “competition.”
 
However, keeping the property vacant damages the community by misusing tax dollars on maintenance, and the building has become a crime magnet. WILL is urging the school district to do what’s best for taxpayers, property owners, and students and sell the property.
 
The Quotes: WILL Associate Counsel, Lauren Greuel, stated, “The school district ought to prioritize the safety and concerns of the public before their own. By not selling this vacant building, residents, taxpayers, and property owners are on the hook for lower land values and rising crime rates. The school district’s actions are a complete slap in the face to the community.”
 
Cheryl Sporie, the St. Thomas Aquinas Board of Trustee Chair who offered full price, remarked, “It is unfortunate the school district utterly refuses to work with us despite our fair and reasonable offer. We are not trying to take business away from them, we are simply trying to provide a better service for the students in this community already enrolled in our school.”
 
Additional Background: The Marinette School District ensures they have no intention of using this property, yet it has spent over two years awaiting the asking price; all while wasting tax dollars on the maintenance of the property.  Wis. Stat. § 120.10(6) only allows the district to spend taxpayer money on maintaining active school buildings, not empty buildings. Following the rejection of the asking price, it is certain the district is no longer sustaining the building to preserve its value for a prospective sale. The district’s irresponsibility neglects the interests of the surrounding community.
 
Marinette would be best served if the district sold the property. The sale could generate approximately $300,000 (the price they were offered) for the district and eliminate ongoing upkeep costs, instead, the district prioritized its fear of competition over the community’s interests. In addition, the vacant building is detrimental to the city of Marinette as crime has amplified at the property. Police records provided to WILL indicate that nearly 2 dozen incidents have occurred at that location.
 
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Lauren Greuel

Lauren Greuel

Associate Counsel

Cory Brewer

Cory Brewer

Education Counsel

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