"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Americans For Prosperity Urges Voters to Send Message: “Put Dollars in the Class Room Not Court Room”€

January 15th, 2008 by mopns · No Comments

Former Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden, who is now a lobbyist for Travis Brown’s new firm Pelopidas and American for Prosperity- Missouri, sent out a press release yesterday promoting two AFP videos that criticize Missouri school districts that are suing the state for more money. A tipster alerted us to the videos on YouTube two weeks ago, and we’ve already been posting them on MOPNS. In light of the circumstances occurring in school districts in St. Louis, St. Louis County, and in Kansas City, voters should be aware of this attempted money grab by the school districts through our judiciary. From the AFP release:

Columbia, MO, January 14, 2008 – A $100,000 multi-media ad campaign created by Americans for Prosperity – Missouri (AFP-MO) is causing quite a flurry of phone calls to the organization’s state director and former Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem, Carl Bearden. The first television spot opens with hogs feeding at a trough and accuses many of Missouri public school boards of “pigging out in their lawsuit against local taxpayers.

The lion’s share of the calls that I am receiving from this campaign are very supportive. When taxpayers find out that they are being sued by public school boards for $1 billion without showing how all this extra money is going to improve education for our kids, well people are outraged, to say the least,said Bearden.

In September 2007, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan ruled against the plaintiff school districts in the suit that were using the courts as a means to obtain an additional $1 billion in funding. The ruling states decisively that Missouri is meeting its Constitutional obligation to fund public schools, and that any elaboration on the state funding formula is a legislative power.

There have been many school finance adequacy cases in recent years across the country. This case was unique because for the first time, three private citizens joined the State against a constitutional threat. Menlo Smith, Bevis Schock and Rex Sinquefield intervened as taxpayers. The State and the intervenor defendants, who contended that the funding formula had a rational basis, presented evidence from a number of expert witnesses that there was not a significant correlation between increased funding and increased performance.

To taxpayers, the threat of this lawsuit is circuitous. The court has ruled that it has no authority to force the legislature to increase funding to more than the 25% required by the Constitution, and yet school districts are continuing with an appeal. In addition to that Constitutional threat, the school districts are spending taxpayer dollars intended for education to fund the lawsuit. The intended result will either raise taxes or detract funds from other state services Missourians believe are important.

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Tags: Carl Bearden · School Choice

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  • 1 Mysti // Jan 15, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I love the work AFP is doing for Missouri. I completely agree with the messages it is sending. The lawsuit should not have been started to begin with, it is taking precious money away from the school, if won, it would take money from other services, taxpayers are being deceived, and to top it off, if the schools got more money, it most likely would not help. It has been proven over and over again that more money does not improve student acheiment or graduation rates. Why aren’t the appealing school districts paying attention to this? They say they are in need for more money, yet they are wasting it on this lawsuit! They need to learn how to use their money better.

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