Funding for at-risk students is inadequate and irrational

DENVER, CO - Today, MALDEF held a press conference in front of the Colorado Department of Education to announce the beginning of the trial in Lobato v. Colorado. The trial begins on Monday, August 1, 2011, eighteen months after MALDEF filed legal papers on behalf of low income families.

"The future is bleak for Colorado. Children's learning is being strangled by a funding system that is irrational and unresponsive to the increasing reforms imposed by the State," stated MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel David Hinojosa. "We are left with a system that forces districts to choose between serving the needs of Peter and Pablo and not only does Colorado deserve better, but the Constitutuion so commands."

The families seek a ruling that Colorado's inadequate school funding for at-risk income and English Language Learner students violates their rights under the Colorado Constitution. The parents and children represent different regions of the state, including Mapleton, Sheridan, Rocky Ford and Greeley.

"I want for my children and all children a great education so that they can reach their dreams and full potential," said Maribel Payan, plaintiff-intervenor parent whose children attend Sheridan Schools. "They are held to the same standards and compete with all other children and the quality of their education should not be lesser just because of where they live and go to school."

The Lobato lawsuit was originally filed in Denver County District Court in 2005 by parents and school districts arguing that the State of Colorado had failed to adequately fund their education. MALDEF’s intervention in February 2010 focused on the irrational and inadequate funding for at-risk students and English Language Learner students. MALDEF also seeks a declaration that funding for facilities in property-poor school districts is insufficient and that communities have been stripped of local control. This is the first statewide school adequacy lawsuit to be tried in Colorado. MALDEF is joined in the lawsuit by Henry L. Solano of Dewey and LeBoeuf LLP; and Steven Perfrement of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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