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Voucher lawsuits will remain in Denver District Court

on Sun, 07/17/2011 - 21:07

Court Denies Change of Venue in Douglas County Voucher Lawsuit

Case Will Remain in Denver County District Court  

(Denver, July 16, 2011)  Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez today denied a request for change of venue in the lawsuits filed by Taxpayers for Public Education (TFPE) and others against the Douglas County School District (DCSD) voucher program.  Judge Martinez ruled that the lawsuits will remain in Denver District Court.

In their Motion for Change of Venue, the Douglas County School District and Douglas County School District Board of Education argued that the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Colorado State Board of Education “had no substantive role in the development of the [voucher] Program.”  In their response, TFPE and the other plaintiffs contended that, in fact, the CDE had played a significant role in the development of the program. 

TFPE provided evidence that:

·        The CDE assisted DCSD with various issues related to the voucher program; including the development of a proposal permitting DCSD to "count" voucher students as public school students in order to receive public school funding for those students.

·        The CDE organized key strategy meetings for the voucher program.

·        The CDE recommended the approach to the voucher program that DCSD ultimately adopted.  

To support it’s claims, TFPE submitted dozens of documents from the CDE's own files which revealed the department’s active participation in planning and implementing the voucher program.  After reviewing the evidence, Judge Martinez stated tersely that he was "not persuaded" that CDE had no substantive role in developing the program. 

The Court also found, 
that contrary to DCSD's claims, the voucher meetings between DCSD and CDE were not "mere 'tangential' conduct,” but rather integral “to identify various issues in the implementation of the Program and to propose solutions…" for those issues. 

Judge Martinez is expected to rule on several other pending motions during a status conference with all parties at 9:00 am on Monday, July 18. 

Read the ruling here