Colorado Coalition Loses Funding Suit in State Court

Last Updated: April 01, 2006

This article appeared in the April 2006 Rural Policy Matters.

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Children's Voices, a Colorado coalition representing 14 school districts and numerous parents, lost its funding suit at the state court level when Denver District Judge Michael Martinez dismissed their case. The lawsuit claimed that the state was not meeting its constitutional responsibility to provide a "thorough and uniform" public education system because of insufficient funding that is not based on an actual determination of the costs.

The suit also alleged that a legislatively-enacted Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) limiting school districts' ability to raise money has resulted in a continual reduction in overall school funding.

Judge Martinez rejected the TABOR argument. In reaching his decision, the judge relied heavily on Amendment 23, passed in 2000, which guarantees some funding increases each year, as evidence that schools are receiving help. Coalition leaders plan to appeal directly to the State Supreme Court.

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