Douglas County Vouches for Private (and Religious) Schools

March 2011

Douglas County will have the first public school district in the nation with a program that allows parents to send their kids to private schools with tax dollars. Starting in the fall, up to 500 students will be eligible to receive about $4,500 to spend at a private school (7News). A small crowd was divided for and against the plan, with at least one person fretting that taxpayer money would be poured into religious schools since the majority of private schools in the district area are religious. "Your legacy will be destroying public education in Douglas County," said Delana Maynes of Taxpayers for Public Education (Education News Colorado).

Though Jonathan Tee with the Alliance for Choice in Education says his group will work with low-income families who can't afford private school tuition even with vouchers, a Denver Post survey of tuition in the area finds some schools charge as much as $21,000 a year. Other nearby private schools, however, charge just slightly more than what vouchers would cover.