The second of two days of closing arguments in the legal challenge to the constitutionality of Missouri’s school funding formula focuses on two areas: property tax assessments and possible Hancock violations.
On the issue of assessments, the plaintiffs raise concerns about a lack of standard evaluation procedures. Attorney Jim Owen, representing the Coalition for Funding of Excellent Schools, says the districts are at risk of being shortchanged by the state because of how a neighboring county or community conducts assessments.
Assistant Attorney General Karen Winn, representing the state, argues it is not the role of the General Assembly to change the rules regarding property tax evaluations nd assessments. She says the State Tax Commission is the agency that would be involved in concerns about assessments.
On the Hancock issue, plaintiffs’ attorneys suggest a shortfall in revenues for a school district forces that district to obtain those revenues from other sources. They claim that amounts to an unfunded mandate which would constitute a Hancock violation. Attorneys for the state reject that argument.
Written briefs and other documents will be submitted to Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan over the coming weeks. No ruling is expected before late May or June. That ruling, when it comes, is expected to be appealed.