Douglas County school board votes to end controversial voucher program

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — The Douglas County School District board rescinded a controversial voucher program during a special meeting Monday night in a unanimous vote.

Under the program, 500 Douglas County students would receive a voucher of roughly $5,000 to attend a private school.

The money could be applied to a religious school. Opponents said at the meeting said it would mean $3.4 million in taxpayer money would be taken away from public schools and sent to private schools.

In November, the school board election gained national attention as interest groups donated large amounts of money to candidates on both sides of the issue.

Voters utilized the election to elect board members who were opposed to the School Choice Scholarship Program.

While the program has generated a lot of attention, no vouchers have been paid out to a district student because of an intense legal battle.

The case traveled to the U.S. Supreme Court, which this summer sent the case back to the Colorado Supreme Court and asked it to reconsider its 2015 decision against the program.

Colorado’s highest court is schedule to revisit the case in mid-December.

The district has spent $1.8 million in legal fees to defend the program.

A district spokesman said that money was raised through private donations, with the Daniels Fund being a primary donor. No taxpayer dollars were used to cover court costs.

Under Monday’s resolution, the school district will no longer pay to defend the program in court. It is ultimately up to the Colorado Supreme Court to decide if the case is dismissed.

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