PFAWF Joins Court Challenge of Colorado Voucher Law

Neas Statement on Filing of Lawsuit Against Colorado Voucher Plan

On behalf of its nearly 10,000 Colorado members and activists, People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) today is joining a lawsuit in Denver County District Court challenging the constitutionality of the state’s private-school voucher law on the grounds that it violates the Colorado Constitution. For many years, PFAWF has been a strong opponent of voucher schemes that divert badly needed funds from public schools—where 93 percent of Colorado children are educated—to private schools. The voucher law was signed by Colorado Gov. Bill Owens in April. It provides $5,000 taxpayer-funded vouchers to qualifying students in at least 11 school districts. The governor and a slim majority of legislators backed vouchers even though the state’s voters have twice rejected attempts to divert public tax dollars to private and religious schools.

Statement of Ralph G. Neas
President, People For the American Way Foundation:

“The language of Colorado’s constitution underscores the strong belief of its citizens that taxpayer funds should not be used to subsidize religion, just as state courts in Vermont and elsewhere have made clear that religious-school vouchers violate their state constitutions. The language in the Colorado Constitution is clear and unequivocal, and it has been reaffirmed by the state’s voters twice in the last 11 years.

State leaders should be working around the clock to provide those children in struggling public schools with the funds and support they need to learn. Vouchers undermine this effort and do a disservice to the interests of children, parents, educators and taxpayers.”

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