Lobato v. State of Colorado may be one of Colorado's most provocative education lawsuits in history. It raises the question: Is the state's system of public education funding constitutional?
And it is anticipated that the answer will only raise more provocative questions.
The lawsuit argues that Colorado is flunking its own constitution, and by extension, its own students. The state's constitution calls for a "thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state" but, plaintiffs argue, students are not receiving that throughout the state. The lawsuit therefore seeks more money for public education, but lawyers representing the plaintiffs say they aren't looking for a specific number.
The state however is already spending about 40 percent of its $7 billion General Fund budget on education. Allocating more money may cost the state elsewhere, and redistributing funds may cause more claims of inequality from taxpayers.
The court then is charged with making a careful interpretation of what the constitution's drafters meant by the "thorough and uniform" clause, and whether or not it's the court's role to declare a ruling about it being constitutional or not.
We'll be updating the blog live from courtroom 424 in Denver District Court as the five-week trial progresses.