Colorado Opportunity Contract Program - Release: 12-3-2003

Denver District Court Strikes Down Historic Colorado School Choice Program

IJ and Parents Vow to Appeal to Colorado Supreme Court

WEB RELEASE: December 3, 2003
CONTACT: Lisa Knepper; John Kramer (703) 682-9320
[School Choice]


Washington, D.C.–In a blow to low-income Colorado families seeking greater educational choice, a Colorado judge today granted a request by teachers’ unions and other special interest groups to declare the state’s Opportunity Contract program unconstitutional. The judge also enjoined the program, ordering all implementation efforts to cease.

Judge Joseph E. Meyer III ruled Opportunity Contracts violate the “local control” provision of the Colorado Constitution. The Institute for Justice, representing 12 Colorado families, vowed to appeal the decision.

“This is a temporary setback in the battle to provide equal educational opportunity and expand access to good schools for Colorado’s low-income schoolchildren,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice. IJ has defended school choice nationwide and is working with the Colorado Attorney General to protect the Opportunity Contract program. “We will immediately appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.”

“We are confident Opportunity Contracts will be found constitutional on appeal,” Mellor added.


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