Articles Posted in Education Law

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Byrne & Jones Enterprises, Inc. filed an action against Monroe City R-1 School District alleging that it was denied a fair and equal opportunity to compete in the bidding process for a public works contract to build an athletics stadium. The trial court dismissed the petition, concluding that Byrne & Jones, as an unsuccessful bidder, lacked standing to challenge the school district’s award of the contract to another bidder because it did not bring the action in the interest of the public or as a taxpayer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Byrne & Jones had standing to challenge the award of the contract to another bidder; but (2) the trial court did not err in dismissing the petition because Byrne & Jones was not entitled to the relief requested in the petition. View "Byrne & Jones Enters., Inc. v. Monroe City R-1 Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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In 2011, the State Board of Education voted to classify the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) district as "unaccredited", which required accredited school districts to accept transfer of KCPS's students pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 167.131. Taxpayers in five accredited school districts filed this action against KCPS and the State, asserting that section 167.131 violates the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution because it mandates that, in educating the transfer students, the school districts perform a new or increased level of activity. The trial court (1) concluded that the statute mandates a new activity but found that to violate the Hancock Amendment the activity must result in increased costs; and (2) entered judgment in favor of three school district taxpayers and against two school district taxpayers. While the case was pending on appeal, the Supreme Court issued Breitenfeld v. School District of Clayton, which held that section 167.131 merely reallocates responsibilities for educating students among districts, which the Hancock Amendment does not prohibit. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part based on Breitenfeld, holding that section 167.131 does not mandate a new or increased level of activity but merely reallocates responsibilities among school districts. View "Blue Springs R-IV Sch. Dist. v. Sch. Dist. of Kansas City" on Justia Law

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After the St. Louis Public School District (SLPS) became unaccredited in 2007 and was operated by the Transitional School District of St. Louis, some parents sought to have their children obtain Mo. Rev. Stat. 167.131 transfers that would enable the children to attend school in the Clayton school district. The parents (Plaintiffs) also requested that the transitional school district pay for their children's education in Clayton. The trial court held in favor of the school districts (Defendants). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 167.131, the "Unaccredited District Tuition Statute," was applicable to the transitional school district and required that it pay Plaintiffs' children's tuition costs for attending Clayton. On remand, the trial court allowed taxpayers from Clayton and SLPS to intervene. The trial court found in favor of Defendants, holding that section 167.131 was unenforceable as applied to Defendants because (1) it violated the Hancock Amendment of the Missouri Constitution, and (2) Defendants' compliance with the statute was impossible. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 167.131, as applied to Defendants, did not violate the Hancock Amendment; and (2) the trial court erred in finding it would be impossible for Defendants to comply with the requirements of the statute. Remanded. View "Breitenfeld v. Sch. Dist. of Clayton" on Justia Law

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The American Federation of Teachers, its St. Louis affiliate, and individual representatives appealed the trial court's summary judgment declaring that the board of education of the Construction Career Center Charter School District and the individual members of the board had no duty to "meet and confer" or to bargain collectively in good faith with the union. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Mo. Const. art. I, 29 provides that all employees, public and private, have a right to organize and to bargain collectively, it necessarily requires the board to meet and confer with the union, in good faith, with the present intention to reach an agreement. Remanded. View "Am. Fed'n of Teachers v. Ledbetter" on Justia Law

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The City of St. Louis appealed the trial court's holding that the prohibition against special laws contained in Mo. Const. art. III, 40 was not violated by Mo. Rev. Stat. 320.097. That statute exempted certain veteran firefighters who lived in areas with unaccredited or provisionally accredited school districts from any local laws requiring them to live in their home district. The State also appealed, alleging (1) the trial court erred in holding that section 320.097 violated what the trial court believed was the "broad measure of complete freedom from State legislative control" given to constitutional charter cities by the Missouri Constitution, and (2) the trial court erred in holding that the statute violated the equal protection clauses of the Missouri and U.S. constitutions because it was not rationally related to any legitimate purpose. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the trial court's holding that the statue was not a special law in violation of the Missouri Constitution; (2) reversed the trial court's holding that the statute violated the state constitution because it interfered with the City's right to set its employees' and officers' powers, duties and compensation; and (3) reversed the trial court's holding that the statute violated equal protection guarantees. View "City of St. Louis v. State" on Justia Law

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Jordan Danielle King-Willmann filed a petition seeking a writ of mandamus requiring the Webster Groves school district to enroll her in the district pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 167.131.2. The school district contested certain material facts alleged by King-Willmann and asserted several defenses, including a claimed violation of Mo. Const. art. X, sec. 21, the Hancock amendment. The school district requested an evidentiary hearing, which the trial court did not hold. The court issued the writ granting King-Willmann relief. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment and remanded because contested issues of fact existed. On remand, the Court instructed the trial court not to consider the Hancock amendment claim as the school district had no standing to bring such a claim. View "King-Willmann v. Webster Groves Sch. Dist." on Justia Law