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Thursday, April 5, 2007


The trial in a three-year-old lawsuit challenging the constitutionally of Missouri’s system for funding local public schools came to a close on March 30. Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan isn’t expected to rule in the case for several months. Regardless of his decision, an appeal is likely.

More than half of Missouri’s 524 school districts sued the state in 2004 claiming the state provides inadequate funding to local schools and unfairly distributes the money it does provide. After the General Assembly overhauled the funding distribution formula in 2005, the districts amended their lawsuit to also challenge the new formula.
In addition to the equity and adequacy claims, a subgroup of suburban districts also argued that many districts aren’t raising enough local revenue because of artificially low property tax assessments, particularly in rural areas. As a result, districts with undervalued property are getting more state money than they deserve and shortchanging districts with accurate assessments, the suburban districts claim.

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