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Mo. Supreme Court Hears KC-Area Lawsuit Challenging Student Transfer Law

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit that's delaying the implementation of the state's student transfer law in the Kansas City area.

A lower court ruling declared the transfer law to be an unfunded mandate for school districts in Independence, Lee's Summit and North Kansas City, but not for Blue Springs and Raytown.  Attorney Duane Martin argued Blue Springs' position before the High Court, saying the transfer law would be an unfunded mandate for them as well.

"The state is mandating that a political subdivision actually engage in a new service or activity," Martin said.  "It will be a shift from the state to the local taxpayer in exactly the way that's prohibited by the (state) constitution."

Attorney J. Andrew Hirth argued for the state and for Kansas City schools, saying the lower court got it right.

"All (the transfer law) did was to shift responsibility, existing responsibility, for educational services among local political subdivisions," Hirth said.

The state also asserts that the tuition formula includes debt service that will easily cover the cost of mobile classroom space, furniture and equipment Blue Springs schools would have to buy.

The Missouri Supreme Court will issue its ruling at a later date.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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