St. Louis Public School District, NAACP claim state withholding - KMOV.com

St. Louis Public School District, NAACP claim state withholding desegregation money

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The St. Louis Public School District along with the NAACP claim the state is refusing to hand over all the tax money needed to help fund much needed programs.

In 1999, some plaintiffs, including the school district, took the state to federal court and accused them of supporting factors that led to discrimination and segregation within the district. Since the state reportedly admitted to playing a role in the discrimination, the court decided several school programs needed to be put in place to change it.

Following the ruling, voters in the City of St. Louis approved the desegregation sales tax to pay for the program. The state agreed that 100 percent of the money would be used exclusively for Desegregation remediation programs, such as full-day kindergarten and magnet schools, within the district.

The state honored the court’s order until 2006 when some of the funds were diverted to other purposes, like charter schools.

The president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP told News 4 they have been asking the state for the full funds, but were told they would not receive the money.

“We have a settlement agreement between us and the state of Missouri and the state of Missouri does not have the right to change that agreement or not adhere to that agreement on its own fruition. It needs to have consent from the court and consent from the plaintiff,” said Adolphus Pruitt, President of the City of St. Louis NAACP.

Pruitt said the district is losing around $8-to-$9 million every year. He said the district is dealing with issues like a 21 percent student homeless rate and that 100 percent of their students qualify for free and reduced lunch, proof the district is still in need of the money.

"We're not prepared and I don't think the court is going to be prepared to look into the face of those children and their parents and tell them that because the state decided it was going to change the way these programs are funded that the kids who were benefiting from this funding can no longer have it,” said Pruitt.

Pruitt told News 4 the court has requested both sides submit their briefs by Friday so the next steps can be determined.

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