Nevada Supreme Court: School Voucher Program Unconstitutional

Published: Friday, September 30, 2016 - 10:12am

Seen as the broadest school choice initiative in the country — the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that their state's voucher-style Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program has an unconstitutional funding mechanism that should remain blocked.

Nevada lawmakers passed a bill on a party-line vote last year to create the ESA program. It allows parents $5,000 in funds each year to be allocated from the public school system towards a private school voucher or other education expense.

About 8,000 people have applied, but the program has been on hold and never disbursed funds to families, tied up in lawsuits and court challenges.

Thursday, Nevada’s Supreme Court issued a 4-2 ruling against the legislative funding source of the program.  Proponents of the voucher program say the ruling is a technicality they will get fixed and continue to move forward with the initiative. 

Opponents say public funds should not be used for private schools and future efforts to fund the voucher program would need to be more defined and approved separately.

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