The Douglas County Choice Scholarship program is the country’s first district-created, nearly universal school voucher program. The program, which is authorized by the public school district, was enacted and launched in 2011. The program is not currently in operation after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the program unconstitutional in June 2015. Some Douglas County leaders have announced their intention to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history, and more.
America’s only district-created private school choice program
494 participating students (2011-12)
95 percent of students eligible districtwide
21 participating schools (2011-12)
Average voucher value: $1,143 (one-fourth of 2011-12 school year)
Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 53 percent
The Douglas County Colorado Choice Scholarship Program provides vouchers to any public school students who have spent at least one year enrolled in the Douglas County School District.
Eligible students can receive a voucher worth the lesser of the private school tuition or 75 percent of the per-pupil public revenue ($5,066 in 2014-15). A family is allowed to supplement the voucher with additional funds.
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. 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.
In a 3-1-3 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Pilot Program unconstitutional on June 29, 2015. Douglas County leadership is likely to seek certiorari to the United States Supreme Court this year on the issue of the state’s Blaine Amendment.