The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Colorado - Douglas County Choice Scholarship Pilot Program

Enacted 2011 • Launched 2011 • Voucher

The Douglas County Colorado Choice Scholarship Pilot Program provides 500 tuition vouchers to any public school students who have spent at least one year enrolled in the Douglas County School District. The program is subject to annual renewal or cancellation by the school board. If more than 500 students apply for vouchers, a lottery is held. Participating private schools can be located outside Douglas County, but students may not use the vouchers for online schools or homeschooling. Parents and community members, appointed by the school board, provide oversight. Currently, the program is not operating pending the final decision of the Colorado Supreme Court.

Latest Stats (2011-12)

  • Students participating: 494
  • Schools participating: 21
  • Average voucher value: $1,143*
    *(one-fourth of school year)

Program Details

Student Funding
Eligible students can receive a voucher worth the lesser of the private school tuition or 75 percent of the per-pupil public revenue ($4,575 in 2011-12). A family is allowed to supplement the voucher with additional funds.

Student Eligibility
Students must be residents of the Douglas County School District (DCSD) for at least one year, and must currently attend a DCSD public school. Non-residents who have chosen to enroll in DCSD public schools are not eligible.

Legal Developments
In 2011, Douglas County’s voucher program was challenged in state court and then enjoined. On February 28, 2013, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled the voucher program does not violate any provisions of the state constitution, reversing a lower court ruling. Opponents of the program filed an appeal of the ruling with the Colorado Supreme Court. The program remains on hold until the legal dispute is resolved. LaRue v. Douglas Co. Sch. Dist., Nos. 11CA1856 & 11CA1857, 2013 COA 20 (Colo. Ct. App., Feb. 28, 2013).

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: None
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
• Geographic Limit: District (Douglas County)
• Enrollment Cap: 500
• Voucher Cap: $4,575
• Testing Mandates: State and district assessments

Governing Statutes
Douglas County School Board Policy JCB

Friedman Contact
Doran Moreland |

Related Research

10/30/2014 The School Starter Checklist: Meeting the Private Education Regulations in States with School Choice

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3/27/2013 Two-Minute Talk with John Carson
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9/30/2011 2011’s New School Choice Programs
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