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Senate Committee Considers Proposal to Halt School Funding Lawsuits

A Senate committee is considering a constitutional amendment that would take away the power of the judiciary to determine public school funding in lawsuits. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Right now, a lawsuit is pending that claims public school funding in Missouri is inadequate and unfair.

Two hundred and fifty six school districts are part of the lawsuit.

Legislative leaders say they hope they can address the issues raised in the suit before the court does.

But to prevent future legal challenges like this one, Missouri Republican Matt Bartle is sponsoring a proposal that would change the constitution and take away any legal recourse for districts that are dissatisfied with state funding.

Bartle says lawmakers and the governor should have the exclusive ability to appropriate money to public schools.

When Bartle's bill came before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday evening, Columbia Democrat Chuck Graham expressed some concerns.

But Bartle says lawmakers and the governor should have the final say on public school funding.

Otherwise, Bartle says the judiciary essentially could force a tax increase.

Democratic Senator Chuck Graham says schools need to have an option when they don't like the outcome of the appropriations process in the General Assembly.

He says it's a powerful recourse for school districts.

The bill is up for a vote in the senate committee.