Plaintiffs argue against removing injunction blocking DCSD vouchers

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Taxpayers for Public Education, the entity representing the parents opposed to the Douglas County School District voucher program, filed its formal opposition Aug. 25 to the school district’s request to remove the injunction blocking the voucher program’s implementation.

In its joint response arguing against the district’s motion to stay the injunction, Taxpayers for Public Education argues that none of the four criteria for granting a stay to the injunction are met.

The school district in March launched the choice scholarship pilot program to allow qualified families to use 75 percent of their state-issued per-pupil-funding for private school tuition. The program was stopped on Aug. 12 with the decision by Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez, who ruled it unconstitutional.

In his ruling, Martinez reported more than 90 percent of the participating private schools are religious institutions. By the time the program was blocked, the district had sent more than $300,000 to the private schools for the 2011-2012 school year.

Martinez granted an injunction preventing the vouchers from being implemented while the case remains in court. The school district immediately began its appeal process.

Martinez’s ruling came on the cusp of the start of school and the district announced the private schools were working with district officials to place the students enrolled in the program.

At the same time it approved its pilot program, the Douglas County School District board of education also opened a legal fund to solicit tax-deductible donations to finance the legal fight for the program.

To date, the Choice Legal Fund has received more than $52,000 in donations, which have covered legal costs of more than $33,000, according to the school district.

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