Friday, March 01, 2013

Colorado Appeals Court Rejects Challenge To School Voucher Program

In Taxpayers for Public Education v. Douglas County School District, (CO App., Feb. 28, 2013), a Colorado state appeals court in a 2-1 decision upheld  Douglas County, Colorado's "Choice Scholarship Program" under which parents of eligible students could obtain vouchers covering a  portion of the tuition costs of sending their children to certain private schools, a majority of which have religious affiliations. The appeals court majority held that plaintiffs lack standing to claim that the scholarship program violates the Colorado Public School Finance Act.  The majority also concluded that the voucher program does not violate provisions of the Colorado Constitution that prohibit funding or support of sectarian institutions. Judge Bernard dissented, arguing that the program violates Colorado Constitution Art. IX, Sec. 7 that prohibits state support for any school controlled by any church or sectarian denomination. The ACLU issued a press release, saying it would appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court.