Gov. John Hickenlooper today released the following statement on potential litigation involving the Colorado Education Association and Denver Public Schools:
"On Monday, members of my staff met with representatives of the Denver Public School (DPS) system and the Colorado Education Association (CEA) to see whether it was possible to settle threatened litigation involving a due process claim challenging the constitutionality of SB 191. This is the landmark educator effectiveness law designed to assure that every child has access to great teachers, passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Ritter in 2010.
"Unfortunately, and despite the efforts of both parties to work toward a settlement, it is clear that the CEA feels duty-bound to eventually challenge the constitutionality of SB 191. No amount of further discussion or negotiation or mediation will change that. While we respect the effort that has been underway for the last month to explore settlement options, we are deeply disappointed.
"That was the purpose behind an agreement tolling (that is, granting extension to) the statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit that was agreed to last month by the Denver Classroom Teacher's Association, the CEA, DPS and the Colorado State Board of Education.
"In our opinion, the rationale for the tolling agreement has gone away. We call on the parties to amend it so that if the CEA feels obligated to challenge the constitutionality of SB 191 they can proceed and we can defend the law in court.
"We want to make clear to the people of Colorado that we are determined to protect the foundational reforms embodied in SB 191 and further advanced by the recent passage of SB 213, and funded by Amendment 66 -- a proposal that will go to the voters this November.
"These reforms had strong bipartisan support when they passed and unprecedented stakeholder support from business, educators, other union leaders, nonprofits and civil rights groups. In addition to being the foundation of Colorado's reform package they've also proven to be the inspiration for more than 18 other states that have followed Colorado's lead and adopted similar legislation.
"We know that these reforms have even stronger public support now than they did when they were passed and we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend them, whether it is in the courthouse, the legislature or the court of public opinion.
We understand that some may use this lawsuit as a reason to oppose Amendment 66. We respectfully disagree. The best way to protect Colorado's education reforms is to support Amendment 66 this November."