On Tuesday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed the state’s second private school choice bill of the session. When combined with the scholarship tax credit bill passed earlier this year, the new Education Savings Account (ESA) program will allow nearly all Nevada families to choose where to educate their children.
The ESA program is the most expansive of its kind as it covers all students who attend at least 100 days of public school. Parents can then opt out of their assigned public school and receive 90 percent of the statewide average basic support per pupil (about $5,100). The funds are deposited in a bank account for that child and must be used for educational purposes such as private school tuition, tutoring, and therapy. Low-income students and children with special needs receive the full 100% of the state aid.
Unfortunately, it is still not a universal program (despite headlines from many school choice organizations making that claim). Current private or home-schooled students or students who have not yet started school, are not eligible unless they first attend a public school for 100 days. Although Agudath Israel and its coalition partners did push to have the eligibility rules expanded, the bill passed without those amendments.