School board votes to discontinue statewide school funding suit

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | 7:40 a.m. CST; updated 11:51 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Columbia Public Schools will not participate in the Committee for Educational Equality’s future appeal of the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling on the statewide school funding lawsuit.

The school board voted to discontinue association with the CEE during its Monday night meeting.

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

Alex Bartlett, the attorney representing the CEE, spoke to the board on Monday about the appeal and suggested that no decision be made at the time.

Although several board members expressed appreciation for the attention the CEE has brought to school funding in Missouri, no member voted to continue the lawsuit.

Board member Michelle Gadbois said that the intent behind the CEE lawsuit was stellar, but she doubted the possibility for success.

Board member Jan Mees said there must be other ways to get more funding from the state.

Board President Karla DeSpain agreed that other funding sources need to be found and urged citizens to contact their legislators.

“I am not a fan of litigation,” DeSpain said. “I would prefer to use other means of trying to accomplish those ends.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved the purchase of 33 currently leased mobile classrooms.

• Approved 59 district policies recommended by the Missouri School Board Association.

• Approved the 2008-2009 budget planning parameters.

• Approved the audit of the 2006-2007 district financial statements. Linda Quinley, director of business services, said the audit would be posted to the district’s Web site,

• Extended to summer 2008 the summer school contract for Newton.

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