Trial Opens in School Funding Lawsuit

JANUARY 4, 2007 - Posted at 8:00 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's school funding battle is under way in court.

Opening statements and testimony began yesterday in a lawsuit that claims Missouri's method of funding public schools is unfair and inadequate.

The school districts that are suing contend the state doesn't put enough money in public education and doesn't fairly distribute the money.

Missouri's budget includes about $2.7 billion in basic state aid for the 524 public school districts this year.

The case is being defended by Attorney General Jay Nixon's office.

Assistant A.G. Jim McAdams told a Cole County judge that the case is NOT about how much Missouri is spending, but whether the Legislature's funding mechanism violates the constitution. He says it does not.

The trial could last six weeks and could involve dozens of witnesses.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)