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School Board Supports Private School Choice

Denver, Colorado (NAPSI) - Some may be surprised to learn that in one community, the  public school district offers students and their parents a variety of  educational options to choose from including private schools.

In 2011, Colorado’s Douglas County school board became the only  school board nationwide to approve school vouchers.

Although 304 students enrolled in private schools using vouchers, a Denver judge later  rescinded the program in 2012 in response to a lawsuit from the ACLU. The  school district appealed the ruling and, earlier this year, won. Opponents  have since asked the state’s Supreme Court for a hearing. But, for now,  the voucher program is back.

A Constitutional Choice

The story of Douglas    County, however, is not  whether vouchers are legal or illegal. Vouchers were declared constitutional  by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002. What is noteworthy about the “DougCo” school board’s decision is that it  runs counter to the reaction of many school boards to vouchers.

According to the National School Boards Association, for example, vouchers   “abandon public schools,” “waste taxpayer money” and “leave  behind many students.”

The DouglasCounty school board president  disagrees.

Promoting Variety

“The Choice Scholarship Program strengthened public schools,”   John Carson told the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, a  pro-voucher organization. “The Board of Education is committed to  publicly funded education, and its members believe that the system operates  best for kids when a variety of schools—neighborhood, charter and  private—all have the opportunity to provide the publicly funded  education.”

Carson  also called the voucher program a “financial win” for his  district. Board members estimated that vouchers would save their district  $400,000. They also concluded the resulting competition would help their  schools and residents.

Embracing Competition

“I’m not afraid of the competition because I believe I have  some of the most amazing schools in the country,” Elizabeth Fagen, Douglas    County’s  superintendent, said. “I believe our schools can compete with any  schools. But if parents truly believe—and they know their children  well-if they truly believe that a school outside of my district is going to be  the school that offers a child the opportunity to maximize his or her full  potential, I don’t want to be in the way of that. I actually want to  help them get there.”

With its most recent court victory, this fall, the Douglas County  school board will again have its chance to do exactly that.