Yesterday Americans United asked a federal court in Colorado to dismiss an attempt by a pro-voucher group to circumvent the Colorado Supreme Court by filing a case in federal court. The plaintiffs are a group of Douglas County parents who argue that the district’s voucher plan, which applies only to secular schools, as mandated by the Colorado Supreme Court, violates the U.S. Constitution. But if you are thinking that this isn’t our first time addressing this issue in Colorado, you are right.
DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU and the law firm Arnold & Porter — who successfully challenged a Douglas County school voucher program before the Colorado Supreme Court last year — filed motions yesterday challenging the validity of a new lawsuit that asks a federal district court to issue an unprecedented order that would require the Douglas County School District to divert taxpayer funds to religious schools.
Prevailing Faith Christian Academy in Monroe, La., has closed after its removal from the state’s voucher program. The school had only 40 students, all of whom received tuition vouchers.
Barry Landry, a spokesperson for the state Department of Education, said the funding was pulled due to “gross financial irresponsibility demonstrated by Prevailing Faith Christian Academy.”
Three civil liberties organizations, including Americans United, recently filed suit in a Nevada court to challenge a school voucher program signed into law in June by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United sued Aug. 27 on behalf of a group of parents, clergy and others who oppose the program’s effort to divert taxpayer money to private, religious schools.
Opponents of “school choice” schemes have experienced mixed successes in recent months, as Colorado’s Supreme Court blocked a voucher ploy in that state while North Carolina’s highest court approved a program in the Tar Heel State.
In Colorado, Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado scored a victory in June when that state’s high court struck down a Douglas County school voucher program that had allowed taxpayer dollars to flow directly to religious schools.
Wisconsin’s Republican-dominated legislature has approved a bill that will expand the state’s voucher program by $48 million over the next two years. As written, that increase will cut into public school funding and will allow more private and religious schools to accept taxpayer dollars.
Critics are calling the legislation a mistake.
It's always nice when we can end the week on a high note. News reports indicate that Congress seems to be on board with adding new regulations to the school voucher scheme in the District of Columbia and eventually closing it entirely.