CO's education formula ruled constitutional

Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 00:22:27-04

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 4-3 decision that the state's funding cuts to education of nearly $1 billion per year since 2010 are not violating the state constitution.

The court ordered a dismissal of the Dwyer lawsuit, which was filed by a group of parents and school officials in June 2014 claiming the state is unconstitutionally cutting school districts' funding by going against Amendment 23. Colorado voters in 2000 approved the amendment that requires an annual increase of "statewide base per-pupil funding for public education."

The court ruled that the cuts the state is making are not affecting the base funding per student, and that the language voters approved in the amendment does not prevent cuts from total education funding.

Monday's ruling carries great weight for state budget writers. If the ruling had gone in the opposite direction, it could have forced state lawmakers to scramble for hundreds of millions of dollars to fill the gap in education funding, as has happened in other states. Finding those funds would have been a particularly difficult task in the coming year given that the Colorado budget is starting with a deficit.

"I think it means we can continue with basically the same rules we have been using," said Sen. Kent Lambert, the Republican chairman of the Joint Budget Committee.

Read all the details on The Denver Post