Even If Lobato Lawsuit is "For the Kids" Doesn't Make Taxpayer Funding Good Idea

If you can dig way back into your memory banks, four months ago the Colorado Supreme Court decided it had a say in determining the state’s school funding policy — giving new life to the Lobato v State lawsuit. Recently, two of the plaintiff lobbying groups have been urging local school boards to agree to help pay the legal fees. In essence, this means taxpayers are funding both sides of a lawsuit to force taxpayers to spend more money on schools.

As News 5’s Andy Koen reports, Colorado Springs School District 11 last week voted to spend $50,000 on the lawsuit, even though a Democrat state legislator says the money simply isn’t there in the budget, and an education legal expert says these lawsuits are ineffective (click here to watch a 2-minute video of the news story):

The schools already takes the biggest share of the state budget, roughly 43 percent. State Senator Abel Tapia, who sits on the joint budget committee, says they don’t have the money to pay if the state loses.

“We really don’t have a plan of attack in order to finance that if it happens because the amount is so incredibly high that even this year, we’re lucky to fund what we’re going to fund,” Tapia said.

UCCS Political Science professor Joshua Dunn has written extensively on education funding lawsuits. He says they generally don’t work.

“If the plantiffs win and if they actually do manage to extract more resources out of the state legislature, and those are big if’s, it’s very doubtful that the money will lead to substantial changes in the quality of education,” Dunn said.

Jefferson County Schools is one other district that has voted to join the lawsuit. There may be others. This little kid sure doesn’t have time to keep track of them all. But why should I be upset about taxpayers funding both sides of the Lobato case? After all, it’s for the kids, right? Sorry, never mind.