August 25, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: District Scholarship Program Violates Colorado Constitution

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Taxpayers for Public Education v. Douglas County School District on Monday, June 29, 2015.

Standing—Aiding Religious Schools—Colo. Const. Art. IX, § 7.

Four years ago, the Douglas County School District implemented its Choice Scholarship Pilot Program (CSP), a grant mechanism that awarded taxpayer-funded scholarships to qualifying elementary, middle, and high school students. Those students could use their scholarships to help pay their tuition at partnering private schools, including religious schools. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the CSP comports with both the Public School Finance Act of 1994, CRS §§ 22-54-101 to -135 (Act), and the Colorado Constitution. The Court first held that petitioners lacked standing to challenge the CSP under the Act. The Court further held, however, that the CSP violates Article IX, § 7 of the Colorado Constitution. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case so that the trial court may reinstate its order permanently enjoining the CSP.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

SB 14-182: Revising Requirements for Minutes and Recording of Meetings of Boards of Education of School Districts While in Executive Session

On April 4, 2014, Sen. Mary Hodge introduced SB 14-182 – Concerning Procedures Governing Discussions by Boards of Education of School Districts while Meeting in Executive Session. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Under current law, the minutes of a meeting of a local public body during which an executive session is held are required to reflect the topic of the discussion at the executive session. In the case of a meeting of a local board of education (board) during which an executive session is held, the bill additionally requires the minutes to reflect the amount of time each topic was discussed while the board was meeting in executive session. The bill requires the minutes along with the amount of time each topic was discussed to be posted on the web site of the board not later than 10 business days following the meeting at which the minutes are approved by the board. If the board of education does not maintain a web site, the minutes must be published in the same manner as the board regularly provides public notice. The bill requires the board to comply with all other requirements pertaining to the holding of a meeting in executive session.

The bill further requires the record of an executive session of a board that is electronically recorded, including the actual electronic recording, to be retained for at least 24 months after the date of the executive session.

The bill is assigned to the Education Committee; the bill is scheduled for committee review on Wednesday, April 16 “Upon Adjournment.”