Tag: esa

Carpe Diem: Fix the Nevada ESA Funding Issue

 

In 2015, Nevada lawmakers passed the most ambitious educational choice law in the nation: a nearly universal education savings account (ESA) program. The program was scheduled to launch this year, but it immediately drew two separate lawsuits from opponents of educational choice. As I reported last week, the Supreme Court of Nevada upheld the constitutionality of the ESAs, but ruled that the program was improperly funded. Choice opponents were quick to declare that the ESA program is dead, but as Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice noted, the program is only mostly dead, which means it is slightly alive.

Whether the program is fully revived depends entirely on the lawmakers who won plaudits for enacting it in the first place. On Monday, the legislature will meet in a special session to consider whether to subsidize the construction of a football stadium for the Raiders. Fixing the ESA funding would be a much more productive and beneficial use of their time. Sadly, Governor Brian Sandoval announced this week that ESAs would not be on the agenda:

A Victory for Religious Liberty and Educational Choice in Nevada

 

School ChoiceDismissing a challenge from the ACLU, yesterday Las Vegas District Court Judge Eric Johnson ruled that Nevada’s education savings account (ESA) program is constitutional. Nevada parents who opt out of the public school system can receive ESAs into which the state deposits a portion of the funding that the state would have provided had their child attended a public school. Parents can then use the ESA funds on a wide variety of approved educational expenses, including private school tuition, tutoring, text books, homeschool curricula, online learning, educational therapy, or even college courses.

The ESA program was set to go into effect this year, however, it is still on hold due to a second lawsuit in which a judge issued an injunction halting administration of the program. That case is currently pending before the Nevada Supreme Court, and it is possible that the two legal challenges will be merged.

The ACLU challenged the ESA law on two central grounds, claiming that it violated the Nevada Constitution’s “uniformity” clause and the state’s historically anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment. Siding with the state of Nevada and the Institute for Justice, the court rejected these claims.