This lawsuit challenges a school voucher plan devised by the Douglas County School Board with the approval of the Colorado State Board of Education, to funnel tax dollars allocated for public education to private schools, including private religious schools.

The ACLU of Colorado, the National ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, and Americans United for the Separation of Church & State filed suit in Denver district court, asserting that Douglas County's “Pilot Choice Scholarship Plan" violates Colorado's Public School Finance Act, as well as several sections of the state constitution. The voucher program provides taxpayer funds to private and religious schools that will use this money to provide an education—including religious education and services—with little or no government oversight.

Furthermore, the program plans to claim that the (up to) 500 students enrolled in it are still "public school students" for purposes of collecting state tax dollars, most of which will then be sent directly to the private school. Of the 19 schools in the program, 14 are religious, and three of secular schools only teach students through the 8th grade.

The ACLU lawsuit was consolidated with a lawsuit brought by Taxpayers for Public Education. 

After an evidentiary hearing, the Denver District Court issued a preliminary injunction. After a setback in the Colorado Court of Appeals, the plaintiffs prevailed in a 4-3 decision of the Colorado Supreme Court in 2015.  In early 2016, the Douglas County School Board attempted to reinstate a modified version of the voucher program. ACLU lawyers obtained an order enforcing the earlier preliminary injunction.  In 2016, the United States Supreme Court vacated the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling and ordered the Colorado high court to reconsider in light of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, 582 U.S. 449 (2017).    That reconsideration was interrupted by the election of new members of the Douglas County School Board, which rescinded the challenged program in late 2017.  

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Timothy Macdonald, Matthew Douglas (Arnold & Porter); Mark Silverstein (Colorado ACLU); Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Ayesha Khan, Alex Luchenitser); ACLU National Project on Religion and Belief (Heather Weaver, Dan Mach)