Colorado school-financing scheme constitutional, says court

Thursday, June 6, 2013
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

The Colorado Supreme Court eased the concerns of taxpayers last week by reversing a lower-court ruling that said the state is constitutionally required to increase education funding.

It is a case that dates back to 2005, when a group representing 14 rural school districts sued the State of Colorado claiming school funding by the state failed to provide a "thorough and uniform" education required by the state Constitution. A Denver district judge ultimately ruled in favor of the districts in 2011 and the state education board appealed that ruling.

Ben DeGrow of the Independence Institute says if the lower court's decision in Lobato v. Colorado had been upheld, taxpayers would have been burdened with billions more in taxes. He says the Colorado Supreme Court justices also noted that communities have enough power on their own to raise needed education funds.

DeGrow

"In addition to the state's school-funding formula, school districts can go to voters and ask for additional property taxes up to a certain amount," he explains to OneNewsNow. "... Certain wealthier districts have definitely taken advantage of that, and it's something available to school districts all over Colorado."

Governor John Hickenlooper (D) has just signed a billion-dollar measure to increase education funding, something the policy analyst says voters will have to approve.

"Now with the Democrats in charge, they're putting all their political weight behind Senate Bill 213 ... and the billion-dollar tax increase to fund it," he points out. "But hopefully once the voters have rejected that, then we'll sit down and take a serious look as some serious reform ideas."

Colorado's "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" law requires that voters approve any proposed tax increases.

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