Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds education superintendent's independence
State Superintendent Tony Evers (right) had argued against the 2011 backed by Gov. Scott Walker.
Madison — A split state Supreme Court on Wednesday kept intact the powers of Wisconsin's schools superintendent, finding unconstitutional a law Republicans passed in 2011 that would have given lawmakers and the governor more of a say in education policy.
The 4-3 ruling is a setback for GOP Gov. Scott Walker and a victory for state Schools Superintendent Tony Evers. Evers holds a nonpartisan office but often sides with Democrats.
Conservatives control the court, but in this case two of the five conservatives sided with the court's two liberals to form a majority that blocked part of the 2011 law.
"Today's ruling is a victory for public education and the future of our state," Evers said in a statement. "It is a reflection of the value our public schools provide to communities across Wisconsin and the importance of having an independent state superintendent oversee that system."
A spokesman for Walker said the governor would continue to seek ways to change the state's educational system, invoking another 2011 law he signed known as Act 10 that all but ended collective bargaining for teachers and most other public workers.
"We will continue to advocate for policies that prioritize student success," said a statement from Walker spokesman Tom Evenson. "Beginning with the Act 10 reforms in 2011, Governor Walker is dedicated to challenging the status quo when it impedes the ability of parents, school boards and students to get the best educational outcomes."
Soon after taking office, Walker signed a law giving his administration a greater say in writing administrative rules, which are used to implement state laws. Administrative rules include more specifics than state statutes and carry the force Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds education superintendent's independence: