Education Funding

Finance Suits Being Pursued in Conn., Mo.

By Debra Viadero — December 06, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Plaintiffs in Missouri and Connecticut are going to court to seek more state aid for schools.

Late last month, a group of 237 Missouri districts took steps to press on with a lawsuit arguing that the state’s school funding system is unfair and inadequate.

Calling themselves the Committee for Education Equality, the districts brought suit against the state in January. But the legal challenge stalled in June after the legislature approved a new funding system. The committee signaled its intent to keep up the fight on Nov. 22, when its lawyers returned to Cole County Circuit Court seeking permission to file a revised argument.

“Basically, we’re saying things are no better than they were under the old formula, and the new formula is underfunded,” said Alex Bartlett, the districts’ lawyer.

The new law tries to equalize state aid payments to schools by setting a minimum funding level per student. Scheduled to be phased in over seven years, beginning in 2006-07, the formula will add $800 million a year to the $2.5 billion the state now gives to school districts.

Mr. Bartlett said the committee lost 21 of the original plaintiff districts after the law was passed, but other districts stepped up to take their places.

According to Mr. Bartlett, the new formula falls short of districts’ needs, in part because districts must wait seven years to get the full increase in state aid.

But Spence Jackson, a spokesman to Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican who was a prime mover behind the new school aid law, defended it. “This law is going to have a positive impact on students and the learning process in our state,” Mr. Jackson added.

Plaintiffs in Connecticut, including 15 students in eight districts, filed a class action in state superior court on Nov. 22, arguing that the state’s school funding system violates the Connecticut Constitution by not providing for “suitable and substantially equal education opportunities.”

The suit is backed by a group of mayors, school districts, and education organizations called the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding. Accusing the state of not following its own formulas for allocating aid to districts, they say local taxpayers are paying too much of the total bill for their schools. (“Coalition of Conn. School Leaders and Mayors Plans Finance Lawsuit,” Nov. 16, 2005.)

Their complaint calls for a new finance system based on what it costs to provide an adequate education. Responding in a statement, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, said that lawmakers, “not judges,” should fix the system.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Here's How Schools Can Use Federal COVID Aid to Solve Bus Driver and Other Transportation Woes
The Education Department outlines districts' options for using relief money to solve nationwide problems in getting kids to and from school.
2 min read
Students catch their bus near Ambridge Area Senior High School on the first day of Pennsylvania's mask mandate for K-12 schools and day care centers on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, in Ambridge, Pa.
Students catch their bus near Ambridge Area Senior High School in Ambridge, Pa., earlier this year on the first day of Pennsylvania's mask mandate for K-12 schools.
Andrew Rush/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP
Education Funding High Schoolers to Decide How to Spend $1.5 Million in COVID Funding
State officials called Connecticut's new Voice4Change campaign “a first-in-the-nation statewide student civic engagement initiative.”
1 min read
Image is an illustration of a school receiving financial aid.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: E+, Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty)
Education Funding North Carolina Must Spend $1.75B to Narrow Education Gap, Judge Orders
The judge's order has angered GOP lawmakers and will likely set up a constitutional showdown between the three state government branches.
4 min read
Image of money.
Education Funding Opinion Ed. Finance Guru Marguerite Roza on How Schools Can Best Spend COVID Aid
Marguerite Roza shares ways school leaders can most effectively use federal COVID aid to position students and schools for future success.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty