In re Reeves-Toney v. School District No. 1 in the City and County of Denver
In this original proceeding under Colorado Appellate Rule 21, School District No. 1 in the City and County of Denver sought review of the trial court’s denial of its motion to dismiss Rebecca Reeves-Toney’s constitutional challenge to the “mutual consent” provisions of section 22-63-202(2)(c.5) of the Teacher Employment, Compensation, and Dismissal Act of 1990. Reeves-Toney alleged that these provisions violated the local control clause of article IX, section 15 of the Colorado Constitution by delegating local school boards’ hiring decisions to principals and other administrators.
Denver Public Schools moved to dismiss Reeves-Toney’s complaint, arguing that she lacked standing to bring her claim. The trial court agreed that Reeves-Toney lacked individual standing but nevertheless concluded that she sufficiently alleged taxpayer standing to challenge section 22-63- 202(2)(c.5) and plausibly alleged that the statute is facially unconstitutional.
The court thus denied the motion to dismiss. DPS sought C.A.R. 21 relief. The Colorado Supreme Court issued a rule to show cause and made the rule absolute. The court held that because Reeves-Toney had not alleged an injury based on an unlawful expenditure of taxpayer money, she failed to demonstrate a clear nexus between her status as a taxpayer and the challenged government action. Reeves-Toney therefore lacked taxpayer standing to bring her constitutional challenge to section 22-63-202(2)(c.5). The court made the rule to show cause absolute and remanded the case to the trial court with directions to dismiss Reeves-Toney’s complaint.