Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Colorado’s school funding case goes to trial

Molly A. Hunter, Esq.
Director, Education Justice

[Yesterday], the Lobato v. Colorado educational opportunity case began with opening arguments in the state District Court in Denver. The trial is scheduled for a content- and witness-packed five weeks. View videos from [yesterday’s] press conference.

Follow the trial on Twitter or the blog.

Plaintiffs say they will prove that the State is not providing the resources necessary for a "thorough and uniform system" of public education, as guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution. Instead, the lack of resources guarantees failure, plaintiffs said. They will ask the court to order the legislative and executive branches to remedy the problem.

Defendants will argue that the finance system is OK and ask the court to refrain from issuing an order.
Plaintiffs are students and their parents and 119 Colorado school districts. Defendants are the State, the state board of education, the education commissioner, and the governor. The attorney general represents the state defendants.

A combination of pro bono attorneys and law firms represent the original plaintiffs. Kathleen Gebhardt of Children's Voices, Kenzo Kanawabe of Davis Graham & Stubbs, and Alex Halpern of Alexander Halpern are lead counsel for plaintiffs, and lawyers from DGS, Faegre & Benson, Greenburg Traurig, The Harris Law Firm, Holland & Hart, Perkins Coie, Reilly Pozner, and Snell & Wilmer will handle various aspects of the case. 

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) represents plaintiff intervenors, who are additional students and parents concerned about opportunities and missing resources for low-wealth students and students learning English.

For more background, see: Lawsuits in Other States, Denver Post, and One of 119 Plaintiff School Districts, Craig Daily Press.

Education Justice Press Contact:
Molly A. Hunter, Esq.
Director, Education Justice
email: mhunter@edlawcenter.org

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