Two days of closing arguments in the constitutional challenge to Missouri’s school funding formula are scheduled to wrap up Friday in a Jefferson City courtroom.
During Day One of the final arguments, attorney Alex Bartlett, representing 236 school districts, argued that while there is no guarantee students who are provided with resources will learn, the students must be provided the resources. The plaintiffs claim the funding formula is not adequate and not equitable and, therefore, the formula is unconstitutional.
Assistant Attorney General Christopher Quinn, arguing on behalf of the state, claims the formula does provide school districts with the appropriate revenues. And, while he concedes there are problems in some local school districts, he says many of those problems result from poor decisions and unwise spending at the local level. He adds the desire by some for more dollars does not make the system unconstitutional.
A decision is not expected quickly as attorneys for plaintiffs and interveners must still submit written briefs and proposed judgments to Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan. The attorneys believe no matter how the judge rules, the decision will be appealed to a higher court.
The suit was initially filed in 2004, but opening arguments were not heard until January of this year.