Thursday, February 21st

MADISON - A conservative legal group sued the state Department of Public Instruction late Thursday, saying the agency improperly withheld public records and illegally told school districts not to immediately release documents.

Carolyn Stanford Taylor(Photo: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction)

A Department of Public Instruction spokesman disputed those claims and said the agency is following the records law. 

Acting within hours of the lawsuit, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess on Friday ordered the department to immediately turn over records to the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty or appear before him on Feb. 26 to explain at a hearing why it did not believe it needed to do so.

The institute sought records in August regarding the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires the DPI to create an education accountability system.

In November, DPI provided some records but declined to fulfill parts of the request because it said WILL’s request wasn’t specific enough and was too burdensome, according to the lawsuit.