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Lawsuit aims to increase school funding

September 23, 2003
By: Aidian Holder
State Capital Bureau

Organizers of a massive school funding lawsuit say they hope to change the rules for school funding and force the state to fork over more money for education. From the state Capitol, Aidian Holder has the story.

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Previous lawsuits, like the one that led to the Foundation Formula for funding state schools, focused on equity -- how much money rich schools have compared to poor schools.

With the gap now larger than ever, more than 200 school districts have joined together to again sue the state.

But organizers say the issue goes beyond equity. They want to increase school funding across the board. The state Constitution guarantees every student an adequate education and the lawsuit's organizers hope the court will interpret this to mean the state has to increase funding.

Actuality:doctorb
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Contents: Allen Crader says equity is not the only issue

Allen Crader is a long-time educator who helped organize the lawsuit that established the Foundation Formula -- he's also organizing this lawsuit.

Other state's have similar provisions, but only New York has had a case that addressed these issues. New York's Supreme Court ruled that the state has to ensure every school has equal resources but that the adequacy of school budgets is a political issue best settled in the legislature.

Crader says he's confident that the lawsuit will succeed, and he's not alone -- Former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice John Bardgett agrees the case is likely to succeed.

Crader says he didn't want to see the issue go to court -- it would have been faster to have the legislature budget the money.

Actuality:doctorb2
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Contents: Crader warns Missouri schools need help now.

From the State Capitol, I'm Aidian Holder