Lawsuit by Shawnee Mission parents challenging state cap on funding can proceed

A lawsuit filed by a group of Shawnee Mission parents over adequate school funding is still alive after a federal judge refused to dismiss the case.

The plaintiffs in the suit were connected to the effort to save Mission Valley Middle School from closing.
The plaintiffs in the suit were connected to the effort to save Mission Valley Middle School from closing.

The lawsuit challenges the state’s cap on how much money residents can raise in an individual school district. A group of 10 families are the plaintiffs in the suit and were connected to the effort to save Mission Valley Middle School from closing. Their suit was originally filed in December 2010.

The Mission Valley and Brookwood parents involved in the case originally had hope that it might lead to a reversal of the school board’s decision to close several schools and alter boundaries.

The state attempted to have the suit dismissed, but U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum ruled that the parents can continue with their claim that the cap on funding violated their constitutional rights of equal protection.

Tristan Duncan is the attorney for the parents. The suit was dismissed by Lungstrum in 2011, but the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in October 2012 that the parents have legal standing to pursue the case.

The Shawnee Mission School District has undergone substantial budget cuts over the last several years and has lobbied for the ability to raise funds at the local level.