School Choice & Charters

‘Vouchers for All’ Program Will Remain Unfunded in Nevada

By Arianna Prothero — June 05, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

An effort to fund Nevada’s ambitious program to give all public school students the option to take state money allocated to them and use it instead for private school tuition, or other approved education-related expenses, is dead for this session.

It’s unclear what this means for the future of the program, as the Nevada legislature only meets once every two years.

Nevada’s education savings account program, a relatively new policy idea popping up across the country as an alternative to traditional school vouchers, was created in 2015 by a Republican-led legislature. But the program hasn’t been officially launched because of disputes over how to pay for it.


Explainer: What’s the Difference Between Vouchers and Education Savings Accounts?


The power struggle between Democrats and Republicans over diverting $60 million into the ESA program nearly derailed the entire state budget. Democrats, who now make up the majority of the state legislature, held firm in their opposition to the program—the first in the nation to offer private school choice to all students in a state regardless of income, disability, or other special status.

According to the Associated Press, lawmakers reached a budget compromise late Sunday night—and it’s one that doesn’t include funding for the ESAs.

However, the deal does contain an extra $20 million over the next two years for a separate private school choice program that has a cap on how much a family can earn in order to be eligible for the aid. That will be paid for by taxing marijuana sales and growers (marijuana was legalized in the state through a ballot initiative last fall).

Democrats decided that allowing $60 million in state funds to be directed into private schools was a non-negotiable for them, as the Associated Press describes:

“Shaking his head and looking down at one of his signature patterned bow ties, the Democratic leader of the Nevada Senate said last week there was no version of a program to spend public dollars on private schooling that he could imagine himself supporting this session.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford’s personal grappling was the epitome of a Democratic legislative majority so fundamentally opposed to giving families hundreds or thousands of taxpayer dollars apiece to move their children from public to private schools that they decided this week to effectively trade several of their policy priorities for the death of Education Savings Accounts.”

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to approve the budget.

The Long Tug-O-War Over Nevada’s ESAs

Although the state’s educations savings account program was created in 2015 under the then-Republican controlled legislature, the program has been on hold while legal challenges were mounted and resolved.

The state’s supreme court ruled in October that the funding mechanism for the program was unconstitutional, but not necessarily the idea, itself.

But since then, it has been up to a newly configured legislature—one with a Democratic majority—to approve a new funding source.

Related stories:


Photo: Spectators look down on the Nevada State Assembly on the opening day of the legislative session in February in Carson City, Nev. —Lance Iversen/AP-File

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


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty