Douglas County School Voucher Lawsuit Wrapping Up

Closing arguments are expected soon in a lawsuit challenging a voucher program in Douglas County that could put tax money into religious schools.

The American Civil Liberties Union -- along with concerned parents -- filed a lawsuit in late June seeking an injunction to stop the program.

Opponents say the program amounts to government sponsorship of religion because vouchers can be used at more than a dozen religious schools.

School choice advocates insist the government is not sponsoring a religion because the checks go to parents, who are the ones who choose which school their children attend, including non-religious schools.

The hearing started Tuesday. Parents on both sides of the debate are testifying in the case, which will be decided by Denver Judge Michael Martinez.

The Douglas County School Board approved the Choice Scholarship Program March 15. It would provide about $4,500 for each of the 500 students accepted to use at private schools of their choosing. That amount is roughly 75 percent of the revenue the district receives for each pupil.

More than 200 of the 500 students approved for the program had already received initial funding.

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