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  • Writer's pictureTom Kamenick

Meetings Lawsuit Filed Against Raymond School District

School board held private “retreat” outside of public view


Local resident and parent Mitchell Berman today filed a lawsuit against the Raymond School District, alleging that the District’s Board of Education held an illegal “retreat” at a board member’s house that was not held open to the public and was not preceded by proper public notice. 


The Raymond School District has been rocked by controversy lately, facing parent demonstrations demanding accountability and transparency, a recall election, allegations of misconduct and sexual orientation discrimination, a superintendent’s sudden resignation, and allegations of election fraud.


Underlying the latest lawsuit was a “retreat” held on December 15, 2022 at board member Audrey Kostuch’s house.  All but one of the board members attended, as did then-interim superintendent Michael Garvey.  The attendees discussed district business, including the board’s goals and priorities for the coming year and an ongoing search for a permanent superintendent.  Emails among board members and the superintendent after the retreat indicate the board agreed the position should be part time and supported retaining Garvey rather than hiring an independent firm to conduct a new search.


The case, which was filed in Racine County Circuit Court, could lead to forfeitures of up to $300 against each board member who attended the retreat, as well as a declaration that the meeting was illegal and an award covering Berman’s attorney fees.


“Garvey claimed that a retreat like this is “not the public’s meeting,” which couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said Attorney Tom Kamenick, President and Founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project, which represents Berman.  “All school board meetings are the public’s meetings, and we have the right to know about them and attend them.”


Berman released the following statement:

I am deeply disappointed in the conduct of the Raymond Board of Education over the past two years. Despite the community’s efforts to address their misconduct and lack of transparency, they have shown defiance, obstructed open records requests and held meetings outside the purview of the public. This behavior is unacceptable and goes against the principles of democracy and good governance that are essential for the success of our schools and community.

After exhausting all other options, I have been left with no choice but to file a lawsuit to hold the Raymond Board of Education accountable for their illegal actions. This lawsuit is not only about seeking justice for their misconduct but also about sending a clear message that transparency and accountability are non-negotiable values that must be upheld in our community. As a resident of Raymond and a strong advocate for education and community involvement, I believe it is my duty to stand up against injustice and fight for the values that will make our community a great place to live and learn. I will continue to push for transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior from those in power, and I hope that this lawsuit will lead to positive change and a renewed commitment to upholding the principles of democracy and good governance in the Raymond Board of Education.

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