Board to discuss school funding lawsuit

Sunday, December 9, 2007 | 3:58 p.m. CST; updated 11:40 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This story has been modified to change the context of comments by Superintendent Phyllis Chase.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Public School board will decide Monday whether the district will continue with a statewide school funding lawsuit.

The district joined the lawsuit with the Committee for Educational Equality along with 259 other Missouri school districts in December 2003. Districts sued the state, reasoning that Missouri public schools do not adequately receive state funding as required by the Missouri Constitution.

The school district’s administration has made no recommendation about the issue.

If Columbia Public Schools continues in the appeal, the estimated cost, according to the Committee for Educational Equality, would be less than 10 percent of what has been spent on the appeal thus far.

The Columbia district has spent about $5 per student participating in the lawsuit, or about $80,000, Superintendent Phyllis Chase said.

The board will also consider the purchase of 33 of the 62 mobile classrooms the district leases.

Linda Quinley, director of business services for the school district, said it would be less expensive to buy 33 of the mobile classrooms than to continue to lease them. Quinley said the board will discuss giving up the other 29 classrooms once the new elementary school is built.

“Our assumption is that when the new elementary school is complete, we could potentially give up some of those classrooms,” Quinley said.

Other agenda items include:

n Discussion of legislative policies released by the district Thursday.

n Chase’s presentation of budget planning parameters for the 2008-09 academic year.

n School Board Vice President Darin Preis’ presentation of the auditor report for the 2006-07 year. The board will also discuss the audit of financial statements for the district.

n Discussion of the summer school contract.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the administration building at 1818 W. Worley St.

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