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Governor Appeals Lobato Ruling; State Board May Need Some Holiday Cheer First

Talk about making an important decision before Christmas AND the big snowstorm that hit the Denver area and the foothills. Yesterday morning Governor John Hickenlooper announced that he will appeal the outrageous school finance ruling in Lobato v State:

“…a final resolution of the constitutional and legal issues involved in the case require an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.

“The judge’s decision provided little practical guidance on how the state should fund a ‘thorough and uniform’ system of public education. Moreover, while the judge focused on the inadequacy of state funding, she did not reconcile this issue with other very relevant provisions of the Constitution, including the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23….”

Along these same lines, UCCS political scientist Joshua Dunn even more strongly pointed out on a recent iVoices podcast that Judge Rappaport’s ruling uniquely demonstrated “an absolute contempt for the constitution” by openly stating she could ignore those important constitutional provisions. In comments for a School Reform News story written by my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow and released on Tuesday, Dunn made a couple other key observations, including:

Dunn believes the judiciary should not write policy, since it is free to ignore the competing demands of state-budgeted services.

“Courts don’t have to consider opportunity costs. That’s why God gave us legislatures,” he said.

So long story short, it is good to see Lobato being appealed, though it’s sad that the case even has reached this point and will drag on for many more months and cost taxpayers many more thousands of dollars. It’s also important to note that only one of the two key parties has made the important decision before Christmas. Hopefully, the other comes before the New Year. Thus Ed News Colorado reports:

…the State Board of Education, after an hour-long closed session over the phone, adjourned without taking a vote on an appeal and will meet again Dec. 27.

I don’t know what the delay is about with the state board, but there’s probably a good reason. In the meantime, here’s wishing some good holiday cheer will help lead them to a sound and sensible course of action, too.