Court Decision Signals Imperative to Push On in Fight for Colorado’s Kids

November 5, 2015 – The Colorado Court of Appeals today reversed a Denver District Court decision in the Masters v. School District No. 1 case, signaling a major loss for Colorado’s students.

“If today’s decision stands, principals will be stripped of the basic right to hire who they want on their instructional team, which is essential to meeting the diverse needs of students statewide. A quality teacher is the key to effective schools, and this lawsuit is a direct threat to statewide efforts to prepare every child for our rapidly evolving global economy,” said Scott Laband, President of Colorado Succeeds, a statewide business organization advocating for K-12 education improvement.

The Masters v. School District No. 1 lawsuit challenges a critical provision in the Great Teachers and Leaders Act, or Senate Bill 191. As a “friend of the court,” Colorado Succeeds outlined in an amicus brief how, if the lawsuit is successful, Colorado’s educators would be required to institute an absurd system where a school must either (a) force a principal to accept a teacher into his or her school, regardless of whether the school wants to hire that teacher, or (b) continue to pay the teacher their full salary and benefits to stay at home. The brief also showed how the lawsuit threatens the state’s democratic process and jeopardizes the legislature’s ability to promote innovation.

The business community joined education, civic, and nonprofit leaders to help pass SB-191 in 2010 to fix these weaknesses in Colorado’s public education system. The state’s largest teachers union is challenging that law in the Masters case. Now, the Colorado Court of Appeals has sent the case back down to the district court, and the business community urges the Colorado Supreme Court to hear the case.

Laband said, “Despite today’s disappointing news, Colorado’s business community will continue to call loudly for these important changes to our system, and we look forward to backing an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.”

The Great Teachers and Leaders Coalition released a poll last year that showed 94 percent of Coloradans agreed that principals should be able to hire the teachers who best meet the needs of their schools’ students.

The Great Teachers and Leaders Coalition is comprised of civic, business, and philanthropic organizations that have joined together in to show their support of SB-191, including A+ Denver, ACE Scholarships, Action 22, the Anschutz Foundation, CLUB 20, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, Colorado Business Roundtable, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Competitive Council, Colorado Concern, Democrats for Education Reform, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Donnell-Kay Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Independence Institute, Piton Foundation, South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, Stand for Children, and the Stapleton Foundation.

About Colorado Succeeds
Colorado Succeeds is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of Colorado’s business leaders who join forces to ensure our education system works better and smarter for all people of Colorado. We believe Colorado is the best place to live and work, and we want it to stay that way. This great state can only continue its tradition of excellence when all of our children are educated to their greatest potential and all of our businesses have the talented and innovative workforce they need to thrive. We believe great schools are good business. We know when Colorado Schools improve, everybody wins.

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Colorado Succeeds