WILL Press Release | WILL Attorneys to Appear Before Wisconsin Supreme Court to Argue Open Government Case
Appleton Area School District kept public in the dark while curriculum developed
February 14, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty attorneys will participate in oral argument before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday on behalf of John Krueger, an Appleton resident who brought suit against the Appleton Area School District for violating the state’s open meetings laws. WILL attorneys are asking the Supreme Court to find that AASD violated Wisconsin statute when they formed a committee to assist in the development of a curriculum without proper noticing the committee’s meetings to the public.
Additionally, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice have filed amici briefs in support of Krueger and the Wisconsin DOJ has been allotted time to participate in oral arguments on Wednesday.
WILL President and General Counsel, Rick Esenberg, who will be appearing on behalf of John Krueger, emphasized that, “for government to be accountable to the public and taxpayers, it is imperative that they transact business in the open. The Wisconsin Constitution expressly requires open government and in this matter the school district did not allow for full public participation on a matter as critical as curriculum development.”
Oral Argument before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Krueger v. Appleton Area School District
Oral Arguments begin at 9:45. Krueger is scheduled to be second on the docket
Wisconsin Supreme Court
Streamed live by WisconsinEye: www.wiseye.org
This case was brought by John Krueger, an AASD taxpayer and parent of a former AASD student. In 2011, AASD created a committee to review the district’s 9th grade English book list. The committee was made up of 17 AASD employees, and met on a regular basis. The district chose to close CAMRC’s meetings to the public, however, citing concerns that attendees might publicize what was said in those meetings.
The question in the case is whether the committee was “created by rule or order” under the open meetings law. The attorney general has opined that any directive, formal or informal, that creates a body and assigns it duties is sufficient to trigger the law, but the court of appeals disagreed. WILL asks the Supreme Court to adopt a broad reading of the law to best serve government transparency. Otherwise government entities can avoid the open meetings law simply by delegating responsibility for creating committees downward.
More information on Krueger v. Appleton Area School District, is available here.