Similarly, the fact that some government money finds its way to religious institutions is not, a priori, a violation of the Establishment Clause, and the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled correctly in this case:
In a tremendous victory for families in Douglas County, Colo., the Colorado Court of Appeals this morning upheld the Douglas County School District’s Choice Scholarship Program. Reversing an August 2011 trial court decision that had struck down the program, the Court held that the program “does not violate any of the constitutional provisions on which” it was challenged...I could side against this program if the relevant issues were the quality of education received at taxpayer expense, but that wasn't the case here. The ruling is reasonable.
The Choice Scholarship Program is a local school choice program adopted by the Douglas County Board of Education on March 15, 2011, to “provide greater educational choice for students and parents to meet individualized student needs.” The program operates in a simple and straightforward manner, providing 500 scholarships that parents can use to send their children to any private school that participates in the program and that has accepted the child.
On June 21, 2011, however, the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and several Colorado organizations and taxpayers sued the school board, school district, Colorado Department of Education, and Colorado Board of Education in Denver District Court to stop the program. Despite clear case law rejecting their claims, they alleged that because some parents would choose religious schools for their children’s education, the program violates the state constitution’s prohibition on aid to religious schools. They also alleged various violations of state constitutional and statutory provisions concerning public education...
This morning, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision and upheld the scholarship program. In its opinion, the Court of Appeals explained that the scholarship program “is intended to benefit students and their parents, and any benefit to the participating schools is incidental” Moreover, the Court stressed that the program “is neutral toward religion, and funds make their way to private schools with religious affiliation by means of personal choices of students’ parents.”