Injunction Requested Against DougCo Voucher Program

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]

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Libertad says:

    Why wasn’t this gaggle of special interests so opposed to the Denver PreK tax funded scheme that distributes tax payer money to private schools?

    Interesting they use Denver District court. It would seem to most citizens that they have no jurisdiction over local control matters in Douglas County.

    Come on you wusses, file in Douglas County!

    • AmyCO says:

      has filed a motion to change venue to Douglas County.  Plaintiffs claim that Denver venue is proper because it is state tax dollars (at least in large part) that will fund this program.  Also, the Colorado Department of Education is a named defendant.

  2. ArapaGOP says:

    Their program is similar to others that have been found constitutional. Apart from the teacher’s unions and a few liberal self-hating churches, there is no opposition to this. The Douglas County School Board is simply carrying out the wishes of the sensible conservative voters who elected them.

  3. ColoMod says:

    I’m thinking no injunction will be granted but that voucher programs will be upheld. Shame though.

  4. Vikingstad says:

    If educated, tax-payers cannot have basic socractic deliberations over something as important as education without dropping F-bombs at eachother, no wonder we are so stagnant as a nation.

    Look- Either way the money is getting spent, in the district on our children. Clearly the scholarship program is a win-win for everyone. The district gets 25% of the money to use at its discretion and the students and their families get their choice of a school and can opt out of any theology or religious education if desired. The key here is choice!

    Some of you must be avid education participants who continue to vote down bond-revenues and other tax-payer elections to appropriately fund our state’s and countrie’s future. In fact with all this concern you must be regular attendees of CO State education budget meetings and the like-NOT! Stop complaining and support our democracy! In case you have not noticed, The US is on the brink, (next few decades) of being overrun by countries like China and India.

    The power to choose what you believe is the greatest power you have. I hope our children continue to compete in this world and have the knowledge and skills to save the U.S. economy from its inevitable demise.

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