Dwyer v. ColoradoAnnotate this Case
In an original proceeding, the issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court's review centered on the legality of the "negative factor," a legislative enactment that operated to reduce education funding across all Colorado school districts. Plaintiffs sued the State, the Commissioner of Education, and the Governor, arguing that the negative factor was unconstitutional because it violated Amendment 23, a state constitutional provision requiring annual increases to "statewide base per pupil funding." The trial court denied the State's motion to dismiss, and the Supreme Court granted review to determine whether that denial was made in error. After review, the Court concluded that Plaintiffs' complaint misconstrued the relationship between the negative factor and the constitutional amendment: "[b]y its plain language, Amendment 23 only requires increases to statewide base per pupil funding, not to total per pupil funding." Therefore, the Court held that the negative factor did not violate Amendment 23. The trial court was reversed and instructed to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint.