Attorney General Suthers Announces Dismissal Of School Funding Case

DENVER - Attorney General John Suthers today announced that the Denver District Court has dismissed the lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the State’s public school funding.

“The district court flatly rejected the argument that the current level of school funding in Colorado is unconstitutional,” said Suthers. “This decision is a victory for local control and for the idea that it is the responsibility of elected officials – not the courts - to decide how we fund public education.”

In his Order granting the State’s Motion to Dismiss, Judge Michael Martinez ruled that Amendment 23 of the Colorado Constitution is the only measure a court can apply in determining whether public schools are adequately funded.  Significantly, the Court further held that the Colorado Constitution commits the power of appropriation and the determination of educational adequacy to the General Assembly, thereby removing the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The Court went on to reject the claim that the school financing system violated the uniformity requirement of Article I of the Constitution that requires property taxes be uniform across all real and personal property within the limits of the authority levying the tax.  The Court found that school tax levies were local in nature, and thus that there was no constitutional requirement that school tax levies be uniform on a statewide level. Finally, the Court concluded that local school districts are political subdivisions of the State and therefore do not have standing to challenge a statute (here the Public School Finance Act) that directs their performance.

The Case is captioned Anthony Lobato v. State of Colorado, 05CV4794, Denver District Court. 


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