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Mo. Supreme court hears school funding lawsuit

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The Missouri Supreme Court

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A lawsuit over how much money is spent on K-12 schools in Missouri finally reached the State Supreme Court today, five years after it was first filed.

A couple hundred public schools are suing the state, claiming lawmakers are underfunding them.

They're hoping the High Court will overturn a lower court ruling that sided with the legislature.

Attorney James Owen argued that the funding formula chosen by lawmakers won't be able to keep up with growing costs that schools face.

"Since a statute that was passed in 2007, bringing in 2004 figures, that are frozen forevermore, we say you cannot rely on 2004 figures that are wrong," Owen said before the court.

Solicitor General James Layton argued in defense of the state.

"There is no right of one school district to have the same thing that another school district has...it has to be for students," Layton said.

Layton also told the High Court that the state constitution only requires lawmakers to direct 25 percent of state revenues to public schools, and that they're doing that.

When the case was heard in Cole County Circuit Court two years ago, testimony showed the state was spending nearly 38 percent of revenues on schools

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

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