CO Constitution Requires Tax-Funded Schools Three Months Per Year

The Colorado Supreme Court is totally out of control. As Clear the Bench details, the court’s latest outrage is to allow a legal suit to force taxpayers to send more of their hard-earned money to government schools.

As Vincent Carroll summarizes, the suit would “undermine democracy and the separation of powers in Colorado.”

The Denver Post’s Tim Hoover nicely reviews the case. He writes, “Kathy Gebhardt, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the school-funding suit, said… courts would have to determine whether the right to a ‘thorough and uniform’ education funding system outweighs the right of citizens to vote on taxes.”

But why should the courts get to establish what constitutes a “thorough and uniform” education? As Carroll and others note, the state’s Constitution explicitly grants funding authority to the general assembly.

However, there is another telling line in the same provision that indicates what the document’s authors thought consistent with a “thorough and uniform” education: the line requiring schools “at least three months in each year.” Obviously, dramatically less tax spending on education is consistent with this part of the Constitution.

Here is the entire bit from Article IX:

Section 2. Establishment and maintenance of public schools.

The general assembly shall, as soon as practicable, provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state, wherein all residents of the state, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, may be educated gratuitously. One or more public schools shall be maintained in each school district within the state, at least three months in each year; any school district failing to have such school shall not be entitled to receive any portion of the school fund for that year.