Judge orders halt to Douglas County's newest voucher program

Posted at 6:41 AM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 08:41:45-04

A new program that would have allowed parents in Douglas County Schools to use vouchers at private schools has been shut down by a Denver District Judge.

Judge Michael Martinez ruled that Douglas County’s School Choice Grant Program, created by the district in the spring, is not substantially different from its predecessor program, the Choice Scholarship Program. That program was struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court last year as unconstitutional due to the fact that it permitted public money to be used to educate students in religious schools.

Wednesday’s ruling comes just a couple of weeks before the Aug. 18 start to the school year and as the district is on the verge of finalizing contracts with four private schools that wanted to participate in the voucher program.

But Tom McMillen, director of Student and Parent Choice for the Douglas County School District, said only five eligible students had applied to the School Choice Grant Program. While he said they and their families would be disappointed by the court’s decision, there is “less to dismantle” than had the program had dozens of schools and hundreds of students signed up and ready to go.

Read More in the Denver Post.