A conservative legal group has asked that contracts between the Madison School District and its teachers be voided, according to a motion filed on April 29 by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, on behalf of Madison taxpayer and conservative blogger David Blaska.

Blaska and WILL are suing the school district over contracts it has with its teachers that extend through 2016. They contend the districts were negotiated illegally after the 2011 passage of Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation that significantly diminished collective bargaining rights of most public employees.

The school district and school board have said the contracts are legal because the district and its union Madison Teachers Inc. had been party to an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn Act 10.

“We believe we were on solid ground to negotiate our contracts and we continue to follow those agreements,” said district spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson.

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WILL President Rick Esenberg said in a statement, “MTI had its chance to challenge Act 10 and lost. Incredibly, it and MMSD now argue that this failure entitles them to continue to violate the law for two years after the Supreme Court ruled that Act 10 is binding.”

The statement said Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess is expected to rule on the suit this summer.

Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said at a April 27 meeting that a new employee handbook to replace the district’s collectively bargained contracts is expected to be up for board approval by August, but also noted that timeline could change if needed.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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