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Colorado’s Highest Court Hears School Funding Lawsuit

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The Colorado Supreme Court hears arguments on state education funding. (credit: CBS)

The Colorado Supreme Court hears arguments on state education funding. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- A landmark case on the education system in Colorado is being heard by the state supreme court. It involves a lawsuit in which a lower court found the system is severely underfunded.

The key issue is that the state Constitution requires a “thorough and uniform” system of public education. The arguments on Thursday centered on the legislature violating that by how it funded education in Colorado.

Taylor Lobato was a Center Middle School student in the San Luis Valley when her parents filed a lawsuit eight years ago. Other parents also joined the case.

A Denver District Court judge ruled in their favor that state education funding was “irrational, arbitrary and severely underfunded.”

Jon Fero, an attorney representing Colorado, argued otherwise with Justice Gregory Hobbs.

“The state is making progress. This is not an equity case it’s an adequacy case. It’s a constitutional case based on affirmative right for a thorough and uniform system of schools that are wanted in the state and the question is do we have such a system. I believe we do,” said Fero.

Attorneys for Lobato claimed the funding is not able to create a “thorough and uniform system of public schools” as required by the Colorado Constitution.

Lobato is currently enrolled at the University of Denver.

“I’ve done very well and I am very proud of that fact but this case isn’t about me, this case is about the state providing an adequate education for some students,” said Lobato.

She said the case is about the constitution requiring an adequate education for all students.

It could take months for the Colorado Supreme Court to reach a decision.

If the court does find education is not adequately funded it could require several more billions of dollars a year. The decision will not address where that money would come from.

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