A motion hearing that was set to occur Wednesday for the Winona school district’s lawsuit against Save Our Schools has been canceled due to scheduling issues.

The hearing will be rescheduled, according to superintendent Rich Dahman, though a date has not yet been chosen.

This will be the second attempt to bring the groups together in county court to begin litigating the matter. Initially scheduled for March 20 with Judge Lisa Hayne, it was pushed back after the judge recused herself.

The case will now be heard by Judge Matthew Opat of Fillmore County, beginning with the rescheduled motion hearing.

It will address the district’s motion for summary judgment, which would mean there is no disagreement about the material facts of the case and the judge would hand down an opinion without a full trial.

The school district filed the suit in December, alleging that Save Our Schools representatives did not have the right to attach a notice of pending litigation to the titles of both Madison and Rollingstone schools to indicate the then-ongoing Court of Appeals case.

Neither notice is still in place today. After the state Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the school district earlier this month, Save Our Schools acted to remove the notice of pending litigation from Madison, said group member Doug Salzmann, and they removed it from Rollingstone in March.

Since the local suit’s filing in Winona County, it has picked up an additional plaintiff: Michael Corcoran, the initial buyer of Rollingstone school. When the district decided to sue, Dahman said a lingering lis pendens notice could tie the hands of a buyer in terms of new development.

Corcoran later sold the former school back to the city of Rollingstone, where a group is working to reopen it as a charter school or some other educational setting.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated when a date for the rescheduled motion hearing has been chosen.

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Madeline Heim covers K-12 & higher education in Winona. A 2018 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she previously interned at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the suburban community arm of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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