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In light of Mission Valley controversy, upset parents file federal lawsuit

Claiming the state’s budget crisis is forcing the board of education to consider measures that would destroy successful public schools, a group of ten families filed a lawsuit against the

Claiming the state’s budget crisis is forcing the board of education to consider measures that would destroy successful public schools, a group of ten families filed a lawsuit against the Kansas school funding formula on Friday. At issue is the funding formula’s cap on the Local Option Budget, a provision that allows communities to use property taxes to bolster the funds available to school districts.

The plaintiffs made clear that the case, which was filed in federal court, aims to take action against the state, not the Shawnee Mission School District: “This is not an attack against the District or its personnel,” a press release put out by the plaintiffs said. “It is against the state law that currently forbids them from protecting their children.”

Though the plaintiffs had been involved in the Save Mission Valley group, not everyone in the group in behind the lawsuit. Still, Save Mission Valley organizers sent an email to members asking them to write the Shawnee Mission board of education and encourage them to delay a vote on closing Mission Valley until the court had weighed in on their case: “The Board and District should not need to proceed with the divisive and harmful school closure plans if the court permits area residents to vote to approve a modest tax increase to avert the school funding crisis,” the message said.

The district issued a statement after the filing noting that it was not a party to the suit, and that, “The lawsuit is currently under review by the district and its counsel. At this time, it is not clear how or if the filing of the lawsuit will affect the board’s agenda or its decisions on Monday night, December 13, 2010.”

The board of education meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at SM West.

See the full press release on the court case after the jump.

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