Huffington Post’s Andrea Rael:
Plaintiffs filed a motion Tuesday and Wednesday asking Denver District Court to prohibit the implementation of the Douglas County School District’s Choice Scholarship Pilot Program, more widely known as the voucher program.
The motion for preliminary injunction was filed in two lawsuits by Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Taxpayers for Education, and Douglas County parents. It states that unless the program is halted immediately, the school board will have funneled over $3 million in public funds to private schools…
The motion asks the court to preserve the status quo until a ruling can be made on the constitutionality of the reallocation of state funds for 500 students to attend 19 private schools, 14 of which are religious institutions. The ACLU has called the scholarship lottery a “phantom charter school” because the district plans to count those 500 students as being within the system in order to continue receiving per-pupil funding, a combination of state and local sources.
From the ACLU of Colorado’s statement yesterday:
The motion, filed late Tuesday on behalf of a group of plaintiffs who represent Douglas County parents, other taxpayers and faith leaders, asks the court to immediately end the voucher program in order to protect plaintiffs’ rights under the Colorado Constitution’s religious liberties provisions, which bar the appropriation of public funds to religious schools. The motion also argues that the voucher program violates Colorado constitutional provisions and statutes that require educational funds to pay for public education and remain under government control. It additionally describes the district’s blatant attempt to sidestep state law by establishing a phantom charter school so that state money can be received for 500 students who will actually use the money to attend private, primarily religious schools.
“We have asked the court to stop the voucher program before it goes into effect and our plaintiffs suffer serious harm,” said ACLU Cooperating Counsel Matt Douglas, of Arnold & Porter LLP. “The Colorado constitution is clear that public funds shall not be spent on religious indoctrination, yet that is exactly what the Douglas County voucher program seeks to do.” [Pols emphasis]