Republicans on Monday rolled out their revamped school voucher plan after the Nevada Supreme Court found the 2015 version unconstitutional.
State Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, is carrying the bill that would revive the education savings account – or ESA – program. ESA’s passed the 2015 Legislature along party lines when Republicans controlled both chambers. The program would have given parents around $5,100 if they pulled their children from the public school system.
Education savings accounts – the school voucher program passed in 2015 – are shaping up to be the divisive issue during the Nevada Legislature.
Seth A. Richardson/RGJ
However, the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 the program needed dedicated funding and ruled it unconstitutional.
The new bill addresses that matter, and would create a line item for $60 million toward the program, the number Gov. Brian Sandoval requested. That’s lower than the $80 million Treasurer Dan Schwartz said the program needed.
Control of the new program would be pulled from Schwartz’s office and moved to the Office of Educational Choice, a newly formed entity within the Department of Education.
The bill would also limit vouchers to 5 percent of a district’s enrollment in a given school year. The vouchers would also be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.
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Homeschool children would also not be included in the program. The voucher would automatically be terminated for any child who either moves or attends a school out of state.
“Soon, Nevadans will have the most expansive school…