The Democratic candidate for governor says there’s not “a lot of substance” to a lawsuit against the Madison school board.
The Madison school board is the target of a lawsuit filed by a conservative group, which claims the district violated a state law that limits collective bargaining with public employees when it negotiated a new contract with teachers. The board and teachers negotiated a contract after a Dane County judge struck down portions of Act 10, based on a lawsuit the teacher’s union was a party to. The state Supreme Court later overturned that decision
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty argues the Madison district should have known that the new contracts would be found illegal, and it’s asking a Dane County judge to invalidate them.
Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke, who sits on the board, says the contract was legally approved though, because Judge Juan Colas’ decision was in place at the time they were negotiated. Burke says “it was legal then, and our legal counsel says that nothing has changed.”
AUDIO: Mary Burke reacts to lawsuit (:12)
Burke’s role on the Madison School Board has become a growing campaign issue, with Governor Walker arguing it’s the only district in the state not taking advantage of the savings offered through his collective bargaining reforms. Burke says that criticism reflects Walker’s lack of understanding of compensation for workers. “We want to make sure that we’re able to attract and keep good people. We look at our salaries, along with our benefits. And we want to work with our staff in order to reduce the cost of health care, and that’s in the works right now.”