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Dougco Pilot Voucher Program Complaint

Dougco Pilot Voucher Program Complaint

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Published by Andrea Rael

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Published by: Andrea Rael on Jun 21, 2011
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06/21/2011

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DISTRICT COURTCITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER, COLORADODenver City & County Building1437 Bannock Street, Room 256Denver, CO 80202(702) 865-8301
▲COURT USE ONLY▲
Plaintiffs:
JAMES LARUE, SUZANNE T. LARUE, INTERFAITHALLIANCE OF COLORADO, RABBI JOEL R.SCHWARTZMAN, REV. MALCOLM HIMSCHOOT,KEVIN LEUNG, CHRISTIAN MOREAU, MARITZACARRERA, and SUSAN MCMAHON,_________________________________
v.
Case Number:Div: Ctrm:
Defendants:
COLORADO BOARD OF EDUCATION, COLORADODEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DOUGLAS COUNTYBOARD OF EDUCATION, and DOUGLAS COUNTYSCHOOL DISTRICT.________________________________________________
Attorneys for Plaintiffs:
Matthew J. Douglas, #26017Timothy R. Macdonald, #29180Michelle K. Albert, #40665Arnold & Porter LLP370 17
th
Street, Suite 4500Denver, CO 80202Phone No.: (303) 863-1000Fax No.: (303) 832-0428E-mail: Matthew.Douglas@aporter.comTimothy.Macdonald@aporter.comMichelle.Albert@aporter.com
 
Paul Alexander, CA Bar #49997Arnold & Porter LLPSuite 110, 1801 Page Mill RoadPalo Alto, CA 94304-1216Phone No.: (415) 356-3000Fax No.: (415) 356-3099Email: Paul.Alexander@aporter.comGeorge Langendorf, CA Bar #255563Arnold & Porter LLP22
nd
Floor, One Embarcadero CenterSan Francisco, CA 94111-3711Phone No.: (415) 356-3000Fax No.: (415) 356-3099E-mail: George.Langendorf@aporter.comMark Silverstein, #26979Rebecca T. Wallace, #39606American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado400 Corona StreetDenver, CO 80218Phone No.: (303) 777-5482Fax No.: (303) 777-1773E-mail: msilver2@att.netrtwallace@aclu-co.orgDaniel Mach, D.C. Bar #461652Heather L. Weaver, D.C. Bar #495582ACLU Foundation Program on Freedomof Religion and Belief 915 15
th
Street, NW, Suite 600Washington, D.C. 2005Phone No.: (202) 675-2330Fax No.: (202) 546-0738Email: dmach@aclu.orghweaver@aclu.orgAyesha N. Khan, D.C. Bar #426836Gregory M. Lipper, D.C. Bar #494882Americans United for Separation of Church and State1301 K Street, NWSuite 850, East TowerWashington, D.C. 20005Phone No.: (202) 466-3234Fax No.: (202) 898-0955Email: khan@au.orglipper@au.org
 
1
COMPLAINT
1. Plaintiffs challenge the legality and constitutionality of the Douglas CountySchool District’s Choice Scholarship Pilot Program (“the Program”), and seek declaratory andinjunctive relief.2. The Program, enacted by the Douglas County Board of Education on March 15,2011, takes public funds provided by the State of Colorado—which are required by law to bespent on public schools—and uses them to pay for tuition at private schools. The vast majorityof these private schools are religious, are controlled by churches or other religious institutions,and discriminate in both employment and admissions on the basis of religion. Many of themrequire students to receive religious instruction and attend religious worship services.3. In diverting millions of dollars in public funds intended solely for publiceducation to instead finance overtly religious and private education, the Douglas County SchoolDistrict also cedes control over this education to the private-school aid recipients, resulting in ataxpayer-funded education that deviates substantially from the legal standards and requirementsgoverning the public education provided by the District itself. The private schools participatingin the Program are not controlled or directed by any local board of education or elected directors,and the education they provide differs in material respects from the District’s—including, amongothers, teacher certification, background, educational goals, curriculum, and approved textbooks.4. The Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Board of Education areaware of and have agreed to the use of public funds to finance the Program as alleged herein, andhave actively assisted the District in developing the Program. Each has agreed that studentsattending private schools under the Program, including students attending private religiousschools, will “count” as public school students for the purpose of receiving taxpayer funds, andeach has agreed to distribute such funds to the District despite the fact that students participatingin the Program will not be attending a public school.5. In short, the Program provides taxpayer funds to private and religious schools thatwill use this money to provide an education—including religious education and services—withlittle or no governmental oversight. In devising and funding this Program, Defendants violateArt. IX §§ 2, 7, 8, and 15; Art. II § 4; and Art. V § 34 of the Colorado Constitution. They alsoviolate the Public School Finance Act of 1994; C.R.S. § 22-54-101
et seq.;
and C.R.S. §§ 22-32-101 and 22-32-122.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6. The Court has jurisdiction over this action based on Article VI, Section 9 of theColorado Constitution. Venue in this Court is proper under Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure98. Many of the acts complained of herein have occurred and, unless enjoined by this Court, willcontinue to occur in this judicial district.

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