Supreme Court denies 834 Voice case

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order May 19 to deny community group 834 Voice’s appeal following the April 3 opinion issued by Minnesota Court of Appeals. In a Facebook post, 834 Voice responded that the action is “effectively ensuring the closure of Marine Elementary, Oak Park Elementary and Withrow Elementary, absent any action to delay the closings by the ISD 834 school board.”

According to the rules of the Minnesota Appeals Court, 834 Voice had 30 days after the Court of Appeals issued its opinion to make its appeal to the Supreme Court through a petition for review. According to the May 19 order written by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, attorney for 834 Voice Fritz Knaak submitted a filling May 3 through the court’s electronic filing system, but the petition for review was not included with the material submitted for filling.

“The submission could not be accepted for filing with a petition for review and, therefore, was rejected,” wrote Gildea.

On May 4, Knaak moved for an extension of time to file a petition for review.

“This failure is not an exceptional circumstance that can be excused or that warrants on extension of time in the interests of justice,” wrote Gildea.

In the order, Gildea wrote that the extension of time and the petition for review was denied. The petition for review was also denied, Gildea wrote, based of the merits of the case.

“In the alternative, and assuming that the petition for review was timely filed, the petition is denied on the merits,” Gildea said.

In a response posted on its website, the Stillwater Area School District stated, “While we know this decision by the Supreme Court doesn’t make the closing of Marine, Oak Park and Withrow any easier, it does end many months of uncertainty as we conclude this year and move into a new school year. We are committed to working along with our entire community to continue our transition into a new year and support our students, staff and families.”

In its response, 834 Voice stated, “Closing these schools will have a ripple effect through the entire Stillwater Area School District, negatively impacting all students with larger class sizes, reduced access to teachers and individualized learning opportunities and longer bus rides”

834 Voice and the Stillwater Area School Disitrict will meet again in district court in October for a different lawsuit. In the second suit, 834 Voice alleges open meeting law violations and conflicts of interest.