Monday, July 1, 2013
On May 28, the Colorado Supreme Court denied relief in a class action suit in a long-awaited public education finance case, Lobato v. State II, finding that the state’s public school financing system complies with the Colorado Constitution. Lobato II thus ends one of the most contentious education lawsuits in Colorado's history. The Colorado Constitution’s education clause requires that its public school financing scheme be “rationally related” to the constitutional mandate of a “thorough and uniform” system of free public education. The Lobato plaintiffs argued that because the public school finance system provides inadequate resources to disabled, poor, and minority students, Colorado’s system is not “rationally related” to “increasing resource needs driven by standards-based education.” Taylor Lobato, a public school student, sued the state in 2005, joined by nonprofit organization Children’s Voices and other student plaintiffs and their parents. (Ms. Lobato is now a student at Denver University.) In Lobato I decided last December, a state district court found that the state’s public education system was underfunded by over $4 billion per year. Colorado spends more than 40 percent of its general fund, about $3.2 billion, on its public schools, according to the Denver Post. The long-running litigation brought in lawyers from organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and national law firms. Read Lobato v. State II here. Information for this entry also came from the Huffington Post.