St. Louis Public Schools file $42 million suit against charter schools

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A federal court battle over whether St. Louis Public Schools can recover millions in local sales tax revenues paid to charter schools in the city could put the future of the charter schools in jeopardy.

According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the district has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to recover more than $42 million in local sales tax revenue that has been paid out to charter schools over the past decade. Other plaintiffs in the suit include the NAACP.

The suit filed against the Missouri Board of Education, on April 11th, focuses on the millions of dollars that Charter Schools receive each year from a sales tax that voters approved in 1999. The tax funds court ordered desegregation programs in the St. Louis Public School District.

When Charter Schools started in 2000, proceeds from the desegregation tax weren`t used to fund their operations. But since 2006, the state has been sending revenue from the tax to charter schools.

The plaintiffs argue that directing revenue from the tax away from city schools violates the desegregation settlement agreement. But the state argues that the distribution of the funds does follow the desegregation agreement.

The suit is asking the state to not only return the $42 million that has gone to charter schools since 2006 but also an additional $8.8 million expected to go to Charter Schools for this current school year.

The head of the Missouri Charter Public School Association says if charter schools had to repay that money it would likely bankrupt many if not all of the schools.

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