The Shawano County Circuit Court granted a motion to allow a Christian organization to intervene in a case involving a vacant school building, the former Mattoon Elementary School, in the Antigo school district.

Shepherd’s Watch, a Mattoon-based Christian community group represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), is attempting to purchase the vacant school from the school district to start their own school.

The dispute is between the Village of Mattoon and Town of Hutchinson on one side and the Antigo School District on the other. The Antigo district does not want to sell the building because of potential competition. Shepherd’s Watch is looking to participate in the state’s voucher school choice program.

“We are pleased that Shepherd’s Watch and its vision for a new school in Mattoon will be represented in this important case,” said C.J. Szafir in a statement Wednesday. “This a vital fight, not just for the future of this community, but for rural communities across Wisconsin that deserve quality, local educational options. WILL looks forward to the day when the doors to Mattoon Elementary are open and the classrooms are full again.”