Rabbi Mendel Levine (Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas) with ESA sponsor Nevada State Senator Scott Hammond

Rabbi Mendel Levine (Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas) with ESA sponsor Nevada State Senator Scott Hammond

Last Friday, Nevada’s Supreme Court heard two cases related to the new Education Savings Account (ESA) passed by the Nevada Legislature in 2015. The program was challenged by the ACLU and others and the cases dealt with various constitutional questions. Prior to the oral arguments, parents and students, including a group from the Orthodox Jewish community, gathered outside of the courthouse steps for a rally in support of the ESA program.

The ESA program will deposit up to $5700 each year in a savings account for parents who opt out of a public school education for their child. The funds can be used for educational expenses such as tutoring, therapies, virtual school fees, and private school tuition. The State Treasurer has received close to 8,000 applicants, including many students wishing to attend Jewish day schools.

Agudath Israel has worked closely with its constituents in Nevada on this and other issues and is hoping for a positive ruling that will have an impact across the country. “Nevada, with its nearly universal program, is being looked at as a model for the rest of the country,” said Agudath Israel of America’s Rabbi A. D. Motzen. “A win for Nevada parents looking for educational choices, is a win for millions of parents across the country who are looking for those same options.”

A thorough background of the two cases and what’s at stake can be found at EdChoice.org here

To hear the oral arguments:

SCHWARTZ VS LOPEZ

DUNCAN VS STATE, OFFICE OF THE STATE TREASURER

Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas students and staff at ESA rally in front of courthouse with Michael Chartier (EdChoice) and Grant Hewitt (Chief of Staff, State Treasurer Dan Schwartz)

Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas students and staff at ESA rally in front of courthouse with Michael Chartier (EdChoice) and Grant Hewitt (Chief of Staff, State Treasurer Dan Schwartz)