Denver Judge Halts Vouchers, District Vows to Appeal

The State of Colorado passed a universal school voucher law in 2003. Although the bill was signed into law by the state’s governor, vouchers were never issued to Colorado students.  That’s because in 2004 the Supreme Court of Colorado struck the law down, on the grounds that a statewide plan usurped authority from local school boards.

So in 2011, the residents of Douglas County, a Denver suburb, decided that if local control was the issue, they’d create a voucher plan for their own school district.     

But for the second time in seven years, a Colorado court stopped vouchers.  Denver judge Michael Martinez, siding with the ACLU, ruled that school vouchers would violate the separation of church and state.

Douglas County has vowed to appeal the court’s decision.  School Board President John Carson told ChoiceMedia.TV that he likes the district’s chances, citing “a lot of precedents in past decisions in Colorado that support us.” He added, “So we’re appealing, and I think we’ll prevail.”     

Meanwhile, Colorado’s proponents of school choice are feeling vindicated by Tuesday’s school board election results.  Two of three reform-minded candidates prevailed in a hotly-contested Denver race.  And in Douglas County itself, pro-voucher candidates swept all three seats.