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Taxpayers for Public Education v. Douglas County School District

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

March 17, 2014

Taxpayers for Public Education; Cindra S. Barnard; Marson S. Barnard; James Larue; Suzanne T. Larue; Interfaith Alliance of Colorado; Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman; Reverend Malcolm Himschoot; Kevin Leung; Christian Moreau; Maritza Carrera; and Susan McMahon, Petitioners
v.
Douglas County School District; Douglas County Board of Education; Colorado State Board of Education; and Colorado Department of Education, Defendants-Appellants Respondents and Florence and Derrick Doyle, on their own behalf and as next friends of their children, Alexandra and Donovan; Diana and Mark Oakley, on their own behalf and as next friends of their child, Nathaniel; Jeanette Strohm-Anderson and Mark Anderson, on their own behalf and as next friends of their child, Max, Intervenors-Appellants, Intervenor-Respondents

Court of Appeals Case Nos. 11CA1856 & 11CA1857

Petition for Writ of Certiorari GRANTED.

Summary of the Issues:

[REFRAMED ISSUE] Whether the court of appeals erred by restricting Colorado's standing doctrine when it held that the Public School Finance Act of 1994's ("the Act") mere grant of authority to the State Board to issue rules and regulations necessarily deprives the plaintiffs of standing and precludes any private action to enjoin the Douglas County School District ("the District") from violating the Act.

[REFRAMED ISSUE] Whether the Choice Scholarship Program violates the Act by including 500 Program students "enrolled" in an illusory Charter School who actually attend private schools in the District and elsewhere in the District's student count for funding.

[REFRAMED ISSUE] Whether the court of appeals erred in ruling that the Choice Scholarship Program is entitled to a presumption of constitutionality under Article IX, Section 3, that can only be rebutted by proof of unconstitutionality "beyond a reasonable doubt, " and therefore in concluding that fund monies were not spent on the Choice Scholarship Program, notwithstanding the trial court's factual finding to the contrary.

Whether the Choice Scholarship Program violates Article IX, Section 7, of the Colorado Constitution by diverting state educational funds intended for Douglas County public school students to private elementary and secondary schools controlled by churches and religious organizations.

Whether the Choice Scholarship Program violates the compelled-support and compelled-attendance clauses of Article II, Section 4, of the Colorado Constitution by directing taxpayer funds to churches and religious organizations, and by compelling students enrolled in a public charter school to attend religious services.

Whether the Choice Scholarship Program violates Article IX, Section 8, of the Colorado Constitution by requiring students who are enrolled in a public charter school, and counted by Douglas County as public school students, to be taught religious tenets, submit to religious admission tests, and attend religious services.

DENIED AS TO ALL OTHER ISSUES.


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