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UPDATE: Education Savings Account program could be revived

Posted at 11:18 AM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 20:44:10-04

UPDATE: The Education Savings Account program could be revived if the state finds another funding source, which could happen as soon as the special session is called in the Legislature.

13 Action News asked Gov. Brian Sandoval whether it will be on the agenda.

"I haven't decided as to whether it's going to be part of the special session because it's very complicated and complex, it hasn't even been out for 24 hours," he said.

The governor also says it is a serious issue but didn't give specifics on where the money could come from.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that the state's voucher-style Education Savings Account program's funding mechanism is unconstitutional and the program should remain suspended.
Justices issued a ruling on Thursday calling for a permanent injunction on the program, which was on hold on a temporary basis.
The ruling says the program authorized last spring by the Nevada Legislature did not have its own dedicated funding source and is unlawfully drawing on money allocated for public schools in the state's Distributive School Account.
Lawmakers passed a Republican-backed bill last year creating what was seen as the broadest school choice program in the country. It would allow parents to use public funds for private school tuition.
Groups filed two lawsuits against it shortly after. No funds were ever disbursed to families.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt issued the following statement:
“Today’s rulings on Nevada’s Education Savings Account program are a landmark win for the families and children of Nevada. The Supreme Court agreed that the main constitutional hurdles to educational choice cited by opponents are without legal merit. Namely, the Court agreed with our common-sense arguments that ESAs were enacted for an educational purpose, not a religious one, and that the Legislature, in addition to its longstanding support of our public school system, can support educational opportunities outside of that system.”
“After today’s ruling, there is only one step left to take in order to make the vision of educational choice a reality for thousands of Nevada families. The Court ruled against the State on a small funding issue that was not even debated or contentious when this bill was passed. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has made crystal clear that ESAs are constitutional and that the Legislature can fix this funding technicality and allow for the implementation of ESAs statewide. I am proud of my legal team and the Nevada courts for bringing this much-needed clarity to our State in record time, where the ultimate goal is to create a personal approach to education by maximizing each child’s natural learning abilities.”
Governor Brian Sandoval issued the following statement:
“Although the court found the current funding mechanism for Education Savings Accounts unconstitutional, there may be a path for a legislative solution. However, such a solution is complex and must be well thought-out to meet constitutional muster. I am still reviewing the full decision of the Nevada Supreme Court and it would be premature to speculate on the proper method to administer and fund this important program. I also believe it is important to consult with legislative leadership on this issue as we approach the 2017 legislative session.”