Missouri Arguments Heard

Last Updated: May 27, 2009

This article appeared in the May 2009 Rural Policy Matters.

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The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month in the Committee for Excellence in Education school funding lawsuit. Plaintiff school districts are appealing a 2007 decision upholding the state finance system. That ruling stated that there is no guarantee of equity or adequacy of funding in Missouri laws.
The Missouri State Constitution requires that 25% of state spending go to education. The state has defended its current system by saying that there are no additional quality requirements as long as this threshold is met.
Attorney Alex Bartlett, representing more than 200 districts, argued that education is a fundamental right in the state and that another state constitutional provision requiring the state to maintain schools “for the general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence” imposes a standard that is not being met, especially for small and rural districts.
In Missouri, suburban districts have as much as three times the amount of funding to spend on schools as rural districts. As reported in the April edition of RPM, Rural Trust supported the plaintiff districts in a friend of the court brief submitted to the state high court. 
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Read more from the May 2009 Rural Policy Matters.