WILL v. DPI
Case Name: Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty v. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Type of Case: Open Records
Court: Dane County Circuit Court
Case Number: 19-cv-351
Filed On: February 7, 2019
Current Status: DPI produced records in response to court order
Last August, WILL attorneys filed an open records request to ensure that DPI is not breaking state law by unilaterally implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA”). WILL asked for communications between DPI and school districts regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act, among other documents. After numerous follow-ups by WILL, DPI responded on November 13, 2018 partially denying the request. WILL promptly amended its request by narrowing the search parameters. To this date, DPI has refused to comply with the request.
During that time, however, WILL learned that DPI sent preliminary reports to school district superintendents about ESSA, but required them to keep the documents from the public – and even their school board. Mere days before this lawsuit was filed, DPI sent final versions of the same report, demanding that these public records be “embargoed” from the public for a full month. These are the very documents that WILL has tried to obtain.
WILL filed a lawsuit to obtain these records and stop DPI from demanding that school districts violate the Open Records Law. The court issued an order demanding that DPI release the records, which it did.