Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Wednesday, April 26, 2000
Office of the Governor and Office of the Attorney General
STATE OF COLORADO ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT
IN SCHOOL FINANCE LAWSUIT
Denver -- Governor Bill Owens and Attorney General Ken Salazar today announced that the State has reached a tentative settlement with plaintiffs of the lawsuit challenging Colorado's school finance laws concerning capital construction. Giardino, et al. v Colorado State Board of Education, et al., 98CV0246, Denver District Court.
Under terms of the proposed settlement reached this morning, the lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice if legislation sponsored by House Speaker George and Senator Wham currently pending in the Colorado General Assembly is enacted into law. The legislation would provide $105 million over an 11-year period primarily for emergency health and safety capital expenditure assistance to needy school districts. The legislation would also add $85 million over 11 years to the existing School Construction and Renovation Fund for grants and loans to school districts for capital construction purposes. Together, the two funds would make available an additional $190 million to needy school districts to help address their capital construction priorities.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, none of the parties admit or deny the adequacy of the current statutory mechanism for capital construction funding for public schools but stipulate that the legislation provides a means which addresses many of the concerns raised by the Giardino plaintiffs. The settlement is further conditioned upon court approval.
"I commend the parties involved for forging a solution to the problems faced by Colorado's poor school districts," Governor Owens said. "No one would be well served by a protracted court case and I believe this proposed settlement will be of benefit to all Coloradans."
"I am very pleased to help announce this potential settlement," Attorney General Salazar said. "As Colorado Attorney General I have vigorously defended the constitutionality of Colorado's school finance law. However, I believe we should seize the opportunity to end this litigation not because we have a legal obligation to do so, but because as a policy matter providing assistance to our poor school districts to help them meet their obligations is the right thing to do. I am proud we are taking this step and commend the governor, legislators, and plaintiffs for their good efforts on this settlement."
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