School Choice & Charters

Judge Puts Launch of Nevada’s Sweeping School Choice Program on Hold

By Arianna Prothero — January 12, 2016 1 min read

Implementation of Nevada’s sweeping new school choice program has been put on hold until a final decision is made on whether the program is constitutional.

The state’s treasurer’s office was supposed to start doling out money to more than 4,000 families enrolled in the program starting in February, according to the Associated Press.

Opponents of the law asked for an injunction in November, which a state district judge from Carson City granted on Monday.

Nevada’s education savings account program was created by the legislature last June and allows all public school parents to use state education funding allocated for their child to attend private schools (including those affiliated with a religion) or to home school. The state places the funds, a little over $5,000 a year, in special savings accounts, which parents can use for approved education expenses—such as tuition, tutors, and transportation.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the state is expected to appeal the judge’s decision and that Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to get an expedited final ruling on the law from the Nevada Supreme Court.

Implementation of the education savings account program has been a struggle for the state from the get-go. Not only is the law facing two other lawsuits challenging its constitutionality, there is no playbook for state officials to go by because the program is the first of its kind in terms of its scope.

Although education savings accounts exist in a handful of other states, they are limited to select, small populations. Nevada is the first to offer ESAs to all public school students.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.