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Mary Burke says WILL lawsuit against schools baseless

Mary Burke says WILL lawsuit against schools baseless


A lawsuit targeting the Madison School District and its teachers union is baseless, Madison School Board member and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said Thursday.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by the conservative nonprofit Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty on behalf of well-known blogger David Blaska alleges the school district, School Board and Madison Teachers Inc. are violating Act 10, Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law that limits collective bargaining.

The union has two contracts in effect through June 2016. Burke voted for both of them.

“I don’t think there is a lot of substance to it,” Burke said of the lawsuit. “Certainly the board, when it negotiated and approved (the contracts), it was legal then and our legal counsel says nothing has changed.”

Burke said she didn’t know if the lawsuit was politically motivated.

WILL has received $1.5 million from the conservative Bradley Foundation, whose president is Walker’s campaign chairman.

The lawsuit states the three entities are acting unlawfully by continuing to honor negotiated contracts with MTI after the Supreme Court in August upheld Act 10 after several court challenges, including one by MTI. It was filed a week after Walker blasted Burke about the district’s union contracts and argued that the School Board could have put more money toward raising graduation rates and academic achievement if it had taken advantage of Act 10, instead of choosing to negotiate contracts with its teachers union for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

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