By Matt Masich, STATE BILL COLORADO
A lawsuit against the state challenging the adequacy of school funding may go to trial, a divided Colorado Supreme Court ruled today. The case is Lobato v. Colorado.
The plaintiffs, school districts and students’ parents, allege that the current funding scheme violates the state constitution’s requirement that funding be “thorough and uniform.” If the lawsuit is successful, the state could be held liable for an addition $630 million a year for public schools.
“This decision is not good news for the Colorado taxpayer,” said Attorney General John Suthers, who represented the state. “The majority opinion suggests the plaintiffs, who are seeking additional tax funding that could potentially involve billions of dollars, might find relief from the courts even though the legislature and the voters have determined current educational funding is adequate.”
The high court’s vote was 4-3.
Justice Michael Bender wrote for the majority; Justice Nancy Rice wrote the dissenting opinion, with Justices Nathan Coats and Allison Eid joining the dissent.
Representing the school districts and parents were Alexander Halpern, Michelle Murphy and Jennifer Albert Morgan of Alexander Halpern LLC, and Kathleen Gebhart of Kathleen Gebhart LLC. Representing the state were Suthers, Dan Domenico and Antony Dyl of the attorney general’s office. There were also numerous amici curiae filed.