Colorado State Board of Education v. BrannbergAnnotate this Case
In 2019, plaintiff John Dewey Institute, Inc. (“JDI”) submitted a charter school application to the Douglas County Colorado School Board. Section 22-30.5-108 (“section 108”) of the Charter Schools Act created a four-step procedure in which a charter school applicant may potentially twice appeal an adverse decision of a local board of education to the State Board. The parties agreed that section 108 precluded judicial review of State Board decisions rendered after a second appeal under section 108(3)(d). They disagreed, however, as to whether this appeal-preclusion language also barred judicial review of final decisions of the State Board rendered after a first appeal under section 108(3)(a)—a scenario in which the State Board has affirmed the local board’s decision to deny a charter school application, thus rendering a second appeal unnecessary. Applying the plain language of section 108 and the statutory scheme as a whole, the Colorado Supreme Court concluded that section 108(3)(d)’s appeal-preclusion language applied to all final decisions of the State Board rendered under section 108, including when, as here, the State Board affirmed the local board’s denial of a charter school application during an initial appeal, thereby ending the matter and rendering a second appeal unnecessary. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' ruling declaring that final decisions of the State Board rendered after a first appeal were subject to judicial review. This matter was remanded with instructions that the case be returned to the district court for the dismissal of JDI’s claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.