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Choice Scholarship Program

U.S. Supreme Court remands Choice Scholarship Program case following Trinity Lutheran decision
The Colorado Supreme Court will soon reconsider its 2015 decision 

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court sent DCSD Choice Scholarship Program case back to Colorado, saying that the Colorado Supreme Court must reconsider its 2015 ruling in light of its ruling in a similar case in Missouri. On Monday, the Supreme Court Justices ruled 7-2 that Missouri's decision to deny Trinity Lutheran Church certain state funds for a preschool playground violated the U.S. Constitution's protection of the free exercise of religion. Missouri's state Constitution, like Colorado's, forbade financially supporting a religious institution.

The decision is expected to have direct implications on the Choice Scholarship Fund, because Colorado has similar language in its constitution. Article IX, Section 7, otherwise known as the Blaine Amendment, states that no public funds can be used to aid or support any “sectarian” institution. 

Following the 2015 by the Colorado Supreme Court, the DCSD Board of Education launched a second Choice Grant Program, which excluded religiously-affiliated private schools. It was also enjoined and has since been rescinded. The rescission occurred on November 15, 2016.
 



About the Choice Scholarship Program
Passed in March of 2011, the Choice Scholarship Program would provide up to 500 Douglas County students with grants to be used for a private partner school of their choice. In order to be eligible, students must be Douglas County School District residents who are currently attending a DCSD school and have resided in the District no less than one year. In the event that the number of applicants exceeds 500 a lottery would be conducted to select scholarship recipients.

The program was patterned after similar programs upheld by the courts. Grants will be provided to parents, who may choose whichever secular private partner school they wish.

 

Choice Scholarship School
The Board of Education created the program so that the Douglas County School District will provide 85% of the per pupil revenue as a grant to the students’ families. Those families then choose a private-partner school that best fits their educational needs.

The Choice Scholarship School will be accountable for the student’s success. In fact, the district will closely monitor each student’s progress—through DCSD administered assessments and close communication with private partner schools.

Private-Partner Schools
In 2011, prior to the injunction, the Douglas County School District accepted applications from all interested private schools in area. Each school had to submit to a rigorous analysis of its academic programs and financial records. Under the recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling, religious schools will not be eligible to participate in the Grant program. Schools are not required to alter their admittance requirements as a part of applying to partner with DCSD.

Potential Private-Partner Schools

School

Address

City

Zip Code

Approved

Accelerated Schools

2160 South Cook Street

Denver

80210

 

Alpine Valley School

4501 Parfet St

Wheat Ridge

80033

 

Aspen Academy

5859 S. University Blvd.

Greenwood Village

80121

 

Beacon Country Day School

6100 E. Belleview

Greenwood Village

80111

 

Colorado International School

4100 E. Iliff Avenue

Denver

80222

 

Denver Academy

4400 E Iliff Ave. Denver 80222  

Denver Waldorf School

940 Fillmore Denver 80206  

Devereux Colorado

8405 Church Ranch Blvd. Westminster 80021  

Escuela Tlatelolco Centro De Estudios

2949 Federal Blvd. Denver 80211  

Fountain Valley School of Colorado

6155 Fountain Valley School Rd.

Colorado Springs

80911

 

Foothills Academy

 4725 Miller St. Wheat Ridge 80033  

Garland Country

55 Clermont St. Denver 80220  

Humanex

2700 S. Zuni Street

Englewood

80110

 

Hillspring Learning Center

2776 Janitell Rd Colorado Springs 80906  

Joshua School

2303 E Dartmouth Ave

Englewood

80113

 

Mackintosh Academy

7018 S Prince Street Littleton 80120  

Stanley British Primary School

350 Quebec Street Denver 80230  

The Colorado Springs School

21 Broadmoor Ave. Colorado Springs 80906  
The Logan School 1005 Yosemite Street Denver 80906  

 


CHOICE SCHOLARSHIP LEGAL FUND
The defense of the DCSD Choice Scholarship Program has been mounted using privately raised funds and the intent is that no taxpayer dollars will be used for the defense of the program. Donations have been accepted via the Choice Scholarship Legal Fund.

Resources

Timeline

March 2011
Board of Education passes Choice Scholarship Program (CSP)

July 2011
DCSD launches
 CSP program, holds lottery for scholarships

August 13, 2011
Denver District Court issues permanent injunction

February 29, 2013
Colorado Court of Appeals overturns Denver District Court ruling

December 10, 2014
Colorado Supreme Court hears oral arguments

June 29, 2015
Colorado Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeals ruling

October 28, 2015
DCSD files Writ of Certiorari with US Supreme Court

March 15, 2016
Board of Education approves revised Choice Grant Pilot Program

August 8, 2016
Denver District Court enjoins Choice Grant Pilot Program

November 15, 2016
Board of Education rescinds Choice Grant Program

June 26, 2017
U.S. Supreme Court remands Choice Scholarship Program case back to Colorado Supreme Court following Trinity Lutheran v. Comer ruling
 

 

Colorado Court of Appeals Documents

Choice Scholarship Pilot Program Documents

Choice Scholarship Legal Fund Documents