DENVER (KDVR) — A group of public school districts is suing over Colorado’s new universal preschool program.
Brighton 27J, Cherry Creek, Harrison 2, Mapleton, Platte Valley and Westminster school districts are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, along with the Colorado Association of School Executives and the Consortium of Directors of Special Education.
“The lawsuit is centered on the fact that as it is currently set up, elements of the universal preschool program (UPK) prevent school districts from serving students and families the way that they were promised and in a way that complies with state and federal law,” reads a statement from the Colorado Association of School Executives.
The statement continues: “The claim requests that the court provide relief to school districts in areas related to funding and access to accurate and real-time student information necessary to ensure successful implementation of UPK at the local level.”
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The group claims Colorado’s universal pre-K rollout has been problematic, both with misinformation to school families and a lack of information to school districts.
Among other claimed issues, they say the implementation prevents them from upholding obligations to students with specific needs, as they can be placed in schools without the means to support them. The districts cite issues meeting requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Colorado Exceptional Children’s Educational Act.
“We have students who are being placed in a private program, and we don’t know that they’re there, and we’re not going to be able to provide the special education services that they’re entitled to and that the school district is actually required to provide by law,” Bret Miles, executive director of the Colorado Association of School Executives, told FOX31.
The school districts also claim the rollout deprives them of local control and violates equal protection of the law. They’re asking a Denver district judge to step in.
Named as defendants are the state of Colorado; Gov. Jared Polis; the Colorado Department of Early Childhood and its executive director, Lisa Roy; the Colorado State Board of Education; and Susana Cordova, state education commissioner.
It’s but another legal action taken over the launch of universal preschool in Colorado. Two Catholic schools that offer pre-K filed a lawsuit on Wednesday because the state is excluding them from the program.
The schools claim religious discrimination, but Polis said to receive state funding, Catholic schools must commit to non-discrimination toward the families they serve.