Editor's Note: This article was updated at 5 p.m. Monday to include comments from Mayor Jeff Scrima about the impacts to the city.
A Dane County judge’s decision to strike down the state’s collective bargaining law has left area officials wondering what to do next.
The School District of Waukesha was set to hold its initial session to bargain with the teachers union over 2011-12 teaching contracts Monday.
But that meeting is on hold because Judge Juan Colas ruled Friday evening that the controversial law is null and void, saying the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitutions. As a result, the school district decided to cancel the meeting while trying to get more information.
Superintendent Todd Gray said Monday the timing of the ruling is an “unnecessary distraction” as it puts a question mark on negotiations. The law would have limited collective bargaining to salaries.
“We are not sure what we should be doing. … I think everybody is scrambling to figure out what it means,” Gray said.
The School District of Waukesha was going to work on this year’s contracts after it finishes the bargaining for last school year’s contracts. But the process is on hold following Colas’ decision because the school district “didn’t want to do anything improper,” Gray said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jeff Scrima, who has advocated for trimming the city’s budget via salaries, benefits or furloughs, weighed in on the decision.
“Waukesha families value financial responsibility at the local level, and regardless of what the state determines, we will relentlessly pursue tax relief for our families," Scrima said in an email to Patch.
Colas' 27-page decision is summarized in The Capital Times, quoting the judge's primary reason for his decision as " (Act 10) single(s) out and encumber(s) the rights of those employees who choose union membership and representation solely because of that association and therefore infringe upon the rights of free speech and association."
Gov. Scott Walker is confident the ruling will be overturned.
"The people of Wisconsin clearly spoke on June 5,” Walker said in a prepared statement. “Now, they are ready to move on. Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process."