(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A Buchanan County judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the St. Joseph School District filed days before the November election.
Eldon Green filed the lawsuit claiming the district was using taxpayer dollars to help promote the passage of Proposition 1.
Buchanan County Judge Patrick Robb ruled in favor of the district's argument that the statute Green used to sue the district does not apply to school districts.
Green argued that the school district should be considered a "political subdivision" under the law, which the statute defines as "a county, city, town, village, or township of a township organization county." The law prohibits "political subdivisions" from using public funds to advocate, support or oppose any ballot measure or candidate for public office.
Judge Robb ruled that the statute is clear and does not apply to school districts. In his judgment, he ruled it would be an act of judicial activism to add "school district" to the definition of "political subdivision."
A release by the St. Joseph School District said it is clear the Legislature did not intend for the statute to apply to school districts.
"This is an important ruling for the St. Joseph School District and other districts in the state," said SJSD Superintendent Dr. Robert Newhart. "We relied on the community to provide financial support for the campaign, but those who work in the school district are in the best position to provide timely and accurate information about the district's needs. Judge Robb's decision reflects this common-sense approach."
Green has also filed an ethics complaint against the school district with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Last month, the commission said it would not investigate the complaint because of the related case pending in Buchanan County court.
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