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Choice Scholarship Program

DCSD considers "at least two fronts" following Colorado Supreme Court decision

Following a careful review of the Colorado's Supreme Court's decision, the District plans to seek a Writ of Certiorari from the United States Supreme Court, as well as looking at ways that the program can move forward in the meantime.

The Colorado Supreme Court's sharply divided ruling relies on Article IX, Section 7, otherwise known as the Blaine Amendment, which states that no public funds can be used to aid or support any "sectarian" institution. However, the District had pointed out - and every level of court has found - that the program is designed to aid the students, not any institution. 

Speaking at a press conference following the ruling Board of Education members promised to "move expeditiously on at least two fronts." 

Colorado Supreme Court Decision Opens Door to Challenge Blaine Amendment

The case was heard by the state’s highest court in December 2014 and the decision was released on June 29, 2015. The Colorado Supreme Court's ruling overturns the February 2013 decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals, when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the District, finding that the program was constitutional under Colorado’s basic law and did not violate state law. 

The Colorado Supreme Court’s sharply divided ruling relies on Article IX, Section 7, otherwise known as the Blaine Amendment, which states that no public funds can be used to aid or support any “sectarian” institution. 

“This is a disappointing ruling for the students of Douglas County and all students in Colorado,” said DCSD Board of Education President Kevin Larsen. “But today’s ruling paves the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to evaluate the constitutionality of Colorado’s Blaine Amendment, which is an ugly part of no fewer than 37 state constitutions.” 

READ MORE: DCSD Press Release on Colorado Supreme Court Ruling
WATCH: DCSD holds press conference following Colorado Supreme Court ruling
READ MORE: Colorado Supreme Court Opinion

DCSD considers launching revised version of Choice Scholarship Program

Meanwhile, District leaders believe that the ruling, which upheld many key elements of the Choice Scholarship Program, may open an opportunity to move forward with a modified version of the program, allowing students to receive scholarships for attending secular private schools.

"We will proceed deliberately, thoughtfully and lawfully in ways that make sense for Douglas County families," said Board of Education Director Craig Richardson.

"We will move in every possible way we can, in ways that are fully compliant with today’s decision," Richardson added. "We will not wait. We are undaunted. We will proceed in ways that create more choices for Douglas County students, more freedom for Douglas County households and more competition for all schools, because we believe that competition makes all schools better."

About the Choice Scholarship Program
Passed in March of 2011, the Choice Scholarship Pilot Program will provide up to 500 Douglas County students with scholarships for the qualified 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 been in the District no less than one year. 

The program was patterned after similar programs upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court or other state courts.
 

Prospective Private-Partner Schools

School

Address

City

Zip Code

Approved

Accelerated Schools

2160 South Cook Street

Denver

80210

 

Ambleside School

Current:
345 E. Wildcat Reserve Pkwy
2011-12 school year: 
1510 East Phillips Ave.

Highlands Ranch

Centennial

80126

80122

Aspen Academy

5859 S. University Blvd.

Greenwood Village

80121

Ave Maria Catholic School

9056 East Parker Road

Parker

80138

Beacon Country Day School

6100 E. Belleview

Greenwood Village

80111

Castlewood Christian

7086 East Park Drive

Franktown

80116

 

CedarWood Christian Academy

11430 East 19th Ave.

Aurora

80010

 

Cherry Hills Christian

3900 Grace Boulevard

Highlands Ranch

80126

Grades 1-6

Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran School

17700 E. Iliff Ave.

Aurora

80013

 

Colorado International School

4100 E. Iliff Avenue

Denver

80222

 

Denver Christian Schools-Highlands Ranch Campus

1733 E. Dad Clark Drive

Highlands Ranch

80126

Denver Christian Schools-Van Dellen Campus

4200 E. Warren Ave.

Denver

80222

Denver Christian Schools-High School Campus

2135 S. Pearl Street

Denver

80210

Denver Street School-Denver

PO Box 140069

Denver

80214

 

Denver Street School-Lakewood

1380 Ammons

Lakewood

80214

 

Denver Street School-Aurora

1585 Kingston

Aurora

80010

 

Evangelical Christian Academy

4190 Nonchalant Circle South

Colorado Springs

80917

Fountain Valley School of Colorado

6155 Fountain Valley School Rd.

Colorado Springs

80911

 

Front Range Christian School

6657 W. Ottawa Ave., A-17

Littleton

80128

Hillel Academy of Denver

450 S. Hudson

Denver

80246

Humanex

2700 S. Zuni Street

Englewood

80110

Lutheran High School

11249 Newlin Gulch Blvd.

Parker

80134

Mackintosh Academy

7018 S. Prince Street

Littleton

80120

Mullen High School

3601 S. Lowell Blvd

Denver

80236

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School

2256 S. Logan Street

Denver

80210

 

Regis Jesuit High School

6300 S. Lewiston Way

Aurora

80016

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran

7691 S. Universtiy Blvd.

Centennial

80122

Southeast Christian School

9650 Jordan Road

Parker

80134

St. Peter Catholic School

124 First Street

Monument

80132

St. Pius X Catholic School

13680 E. 14th Place

Aurora

80011

 

St. Therese School

1200 Kenton St.

Aurora

80010

 

The Rock Academy

4881 Cherokee Drive

Castle Rock

80109

Trinity Lutheran

4740 North Highway 83

Franktown

80116

Valor Christian High School

3775 Grace Blvd.

Highlands Ranch

80126

Woodlands Academy

1057 Park Street

Castle Rock

80109

 

CHOICE SCHOLARSHIP LEGAL FUND

The defense of the DCSD Choice Scholarship Program has been mounted using privately raised funds and no taxpayer dollars. Donations have been accepted via the Choice Scholarship Legal Fund. We greatly appreciate the support of our many generous donors.

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

Colorado Court of Appeals Documents

Choice Scholarship Pilot Program Documents

Choice Scholarship Legal Fund Documents