La Rue v. Douglas County School District

Freedom of Expression & Religion | Student and Youth Rights
ACLU Case No. 2011-02


This lawsuit challenges a school voucher plan devised by the Douglas County School Board with the approval of the Colorado State Board of Education, to funnel tax dollars allocated for public education to private religious schools. The ACLU of Colorado, the National ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, and Americans United for the Separation of Church & State filed suit in Denver district court, asserting that Douglas County’s “Pilot Choice Scholarship Plan” violates Colorado’s Public School Finance Act, as well as several sections of the state constitution. The voucher program provides taxpayer funds to private and religious schools that will use this money to provide an education—including religious education and services—with little or no government oversight.

Furthermore, the program plans to claim that the (up to) 500 students enrolled in it are still “public school students” for purposes of collecting state tax dollars, most of which will then be sent directly to the private school. Of the 19 schools in the program, 14 are religious, and three of secular schools only teach students through the 8th grade.


Attorneys from Americans United for Separation of Church and State
George Langendorf
Heather Weaver , ACLU National Project on Religion and Belief
Mark Silverstein , ACLU of Colorado Legal Director
Matthew J. Douglas
Michelle K. Albert
Paul Alexander
Rebecca Wallace , ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney
Timothy MacDonald

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