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Schools File Updated Education Funding Lawsuit

A coalition of schools challenging Missouri's school funding mechanism says a new funding formula isn't good enough. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The Committee for Educational Equality, which represents 237 of the state�s 524 districts, filed an updated lawsuit Tuesday in Cole County Circuit Court.

The suit contends that a revised school funding formula passed earlier this year still results in unconstitutional disparities among school districts.

Alex Bartlett is the attorney representing the Committee for Educational Equality.

The sponsor of the legislation that set up the new funding formula is the Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields.

He says the state must phase in the formula because there�s not enough money to implement it all at once.

The Committee for Educational Equality has long argued that the state doesn�t provide schools with adequate funding. The group also contends that funding isn't distributed to school districts in a fair manner.

The new funding formula distributes state education dollars based on student needs.

Alex Bartlett says the committee believes that's a good approach but he says there still isn't adequate funding.

While the lawsuit contends the state doesn't provide enough education funding, supporters of the new funding formula point out that it will require hundreds of thousands of new dollars to go toward education.

Senator Charlie Shields says that addresses the issue of adequate funding.

Now that the Committee for Educational Equality has updated its lawsuit, the group's attorney, Alex Bartlett says the discovery phase will continue.

He says he hopes the courts will rule in favor of the school districts and direct lawmakers to create a new funding mechanism.

Bartlett says he learned that lesson when he helped with a similar lawsuit in the early 90's that resulted in the existing funding formula.