Lobato vs. State of Colorado on Educational Funding

Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in All Posts, Education, News | 0 comments

Lobato vs. State of Colorado on Educational Funding

For eight years Taylor Lobato and several school districts that joined her from throughout Colorado have sought greater and more equitable education funding.  The Plaintiffs contended that Colorado doesn’t provide a constitutionally mandated “thorough and uniform” system of public education.

Lobato felt due to her small community and low school budget, she did not have access to education services offered at many other areas and that she did not learn at the level of many other students.

While the plaintiffs were not seeking a specific dollar amount they did point out that in 2008-09, before the recession began, Colorado spent $1,809 less per pupil than the national average, since the recession the gap has become worse.  The plaintiffs attempted to demonstrate in court that there is no rational connection between the expectations established by the legislature and Colorado’s current school finance system. They argued reform without resources is unconstitutional.

So, the question before the courts was whether the state’s funding system is constitutional. While the trial courts stated it was indeed not constitutional, on appeal, the Supreme Court on May 28, 2013 reversed that decision, stating “While we sympathize with the Plaintiffs and recognize that the public school financing system might not provide an optimal amount of money to the public schools, the statutory public school financing system itself is constitutional.”

The Supreme Court file reads – The Supreme Court holds that the public school financing system complies with the Colorado Constitution. It is rationally related to the constitutional mandate that the General Assembly provide a “thorough and uniform” system of public education.  It also affords local school districts control over locally-raised funds and therefore over “instruction in the public schools.” You can find the full decision at http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2012/12SA25.pdf

 

What is your opinion on this case, the decision by the Supreme Court, and on the current state of educational funding in Colorado?