School Funding Lawsuit Goes To Court

Colorado's Method Of Funding Of Schools At Issue

A long-anticipated lawsuit over school funding in Colorado is scheduled to open Monday in a Denver courtroom.

Lobato v. State of Colorado was filed in June 2005. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include dozens of parents and Colorado school districts including Jefferson County and Colorado Springs District 11.

Plaintiffs claim that the Colorado Legislature's method of funding schools violates the state constitution's promise to provide a "thorough and uniform system of public schools."

The lawsuit seeks more money for K-12 education. It contends "that as a result of irrational and inadequate funding of public education, the (state is) failing to provide for a 'thorough and uniform system' of public education and that the public school finance system fails to provide the financial resources necessary for local boards of education to exercise control of instruction in their schools."

In 2011-12, the state plans to spend $2.8 billion on K-12 education. That's 40 percent of the state's $7 billion general fund budget.

State officials, including Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, insist the state cannot afford to spend as much as plaintiffs want on schools. Officials point out that Colorado more than doubled spending on public education since 1994.

The trial in Denver District Court could last five weeks.

Read the plaintiff's complaint.

Read the plaintiff's pre-trial brief.

Read the plaintiff-intervenors' pre-trial brief.

Read the defense pre-trial brief.

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