Last week I told you about a new Colorado Supreme Court decision (PDF) that opens up the doors to judicial policy making in our state’s school funding system. Well, now my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow has weighed in with a column for today’s Colorado Daily on the Lobato v State ruling:
The four-member majority in last week’s ruling showed a token amount of concern about overstepping their bounds into legislative turf. The justices said they just want to ensure a “rational basis” exists for the current system.
Nevertheless, Coloradans should have very little confidence in restraint from the Colorado Supreme Court. Earlier this year in upholding the governor’s unauthorized property tax hike, the court ignored the plain constitutional text and fabricated an artificially high standard for taxpayers to prove a violation of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
As a result, the right of citizens to vote on tax increases has been weakened.
The latest ruling in the Lobato case thus similarly raises fears that the high court ultimately may rewrite school finance policies. Insofar as the experience of other states can serve as a guide, such an outcome would prove to be costly and ineffective.
You really ought to read the whole thing — or if you want to take time for an 8-minute discussion, listen to last week’s iVoices podcast with local expert Joshua Dunn, professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.