Jackson joining schools' lawsuit

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

With the possibility of financial cuts looming, officials in the Jackson School District have joined the effort to sue the state over its funding system.

At their Monday night meeting, members of the Jackson School Board voted to join with the Committee for Education Equality, a group of nearly 230 districts challenging the constitutionality of Missouri's current formula for distributing state aid to schools.

"There has to be some vehicle for reaching a decision on this, so students in this state will have the same opportunity as those in other states," said superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson.

Although several months ago Jackson officials expressed doubt about the lawsuit, they now believe the CEE is that vehicle. To jump on board comes with an initial cost of $2,500, with future costs likely.

"The investment is small considering the major issue," Anderson said. "Just a few dollars per pupil."

In voting to join the lawsuit, the school district adopted a resolution stating that the board of education believes Missouri's funding system is "inherently inequitable and inadequate."

"I wish we didn't have to do this, but if we don't, we're not getting our message out to legislators," said board member Dr. T. Wayne Lewis.

Jackson is now one of more than 30 Southeast Missouri school districts, including Scott City and Chaffee, to join the CEE.

CEE officials have said a lawsuit may be filed as early as the end of this year.

cclark@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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