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Monday, September 3, 2007


Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan on Aug. 29 upheld the constitutionality of Missouri’s system for funding public schools. The case, which was brought by more than half of Missouri’s 524 school districts, is expected to be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.

The district filed the lawsuit in January 2004 claiming the state provides insufficient funding to public schools and unfairly distributes what it does provide in violation of the Missouri Constitution. Callahan ruled the constitution doesn’t provide a “guarantee of absolute equity, equality or adequacy in dollars spent or facilities from district to district.”

One issue Callahan left unresolved is meaning of “state revenue” in the constitutional provision requiring at least 25 percent of state revenue to be spent on education. The question is whether that provision refers to just general revenue or whether other taxes collected by the state for specific purposes, such as transportation or conservation, should be included in determining the 25-percent threshold. Callahan has scheduled a Sept. 20 hearing on the matter.

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