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Nixon Says School Lawsuit Not an 'Appropriate Remedy'

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon (file photo)
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon (file photo)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon says suing to force a different school funding formula is not an appropriate remedy.

His office will defend the current formula that determines how much state money each school in the state gets. More than 240 districts joined in a lawsuit earlier this month, claiming the formula is unfair and unconstitutional. They're trying to force the state to revamp the system.

Nixon says he's concerned about some public reaction to the case. "When 244 school districts in the state of Missouri file a lawsuit saying they're inadequate, I don't want that to send the wrong message to the kids that are doing their homework this morning or the teachers grading papers tonight," Nixon said. "And I am extremely prepared legally for an aggressive defense."

The attorney who filed the suit is the same one who won a similar lawsuit in 1993 which forced an overhaul. The funding system that was created after that lawsuit is the one now being challenged.

Nixon says the school funding lawsuit against the state is one of the most interesting cases he's seen in his nearly 12 years as Missouri Attorney General.

"I think it gives us a great opportunity to see what's succeeding in Missouri education. There are schools out there succeeding and one of the things that disturbs me about this lawsuit is some of the public reaction to it. While certainly our education system can be improved, I think going to the courts in this dramatic fashion is not an appropriate remedy."

The case is not expected to pan out before the end of the current legislative session which means any changes to the system a judge might order would come after this year.