Today, The Orthodox Union—the nation’s largest Orthodox Umbrella organization—commended the Colorado Court of Appeals for overturning a lower court ruling that had blocked the implementation of a Douglas County, CO school voucher program ruling that the Douglas County Schools Choice Scholarship Program does not violate the state Constitution.
Denver District Judge Michael Martinez originally blocked the voucher program in August, ruling that the program violated the state’s constitution and school-financing act. The Douglas County program offered up to 500 students $4,575 in state funds for tuition at private schools, including religious schools and had given out over 200 vouchers before the program was blocked by Judge Martinez’s ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that private school choice programs are fully constitutional. In the case of Zelman v. Harris (2000) the US Supreme Court held that appropriately-designed school choice programs, such as the Douglas County Schools Choice Scholarship Program, are fully constitutional in several cases. The court found that a program is constitutional so long as it is provided in a manner which neither favors religion over non-religion, has a secular purpose and, where relevant, the aid to a religious school flowed there based on the independent choice of private citizens, not of the state.
Nathan Diament, OU Executive Director for Public Policy stated –
“The Orthodox Union welcomes the latest affirmation of school choice. Providing educational opportunity to parents is among our highest priorities for they serve our most fundamental values.”