St. Louis, Mo. – The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a suit challenging the constitutionality of the way Missouri funds its charter schools.
The lawsuit filed by the Kansas City School District and two residents argues that the whole system of charter schools violates the state constitutional ban on unfunded mandates. The state directly pays the charters the state funding that would have otherwise gone to the local district.
The lawsuit claims that charter schools are an entirely new educational system, and therefore a new mandate. It says the state would need to appropriate money for charter schools separately, not redirect state money that was already designated for the district.
The circuit court sided with the state, which argued that charters were just another way for the Kansas City schools to meet its requirement to provide free public education.
Attorneys for the two sides and the state's charter school association did not return phone calls for this story.