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School choice program lawsuit back in court

Posted at 12:04 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 19:31:17-05

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Nevada's Education Savings Account (ESA) program was in court Thursday. 

The ESA program would let parents with kids in public school use tax dollars that would have been used for their student and put it toward private or parochial schools. 

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada claim the program is unconstitutional because it could funnel taxpayer money to religious causes. Thursday, Amy Rose, the legal director of the ACLU of Nevada said that violates the state constitution and added the program could also destroy the public school system.

The state's lawyers said in court they are ready to argue their case immediately.

"Most of this should be just decided as a matter of law. We don't need more facts in this case. We've got all the facts that we need," said Lawrence Vandyke, with the Nevada Attorney General's office.
On the other side, Rose told the judge her team needs more time to gather evidence and support their claims.
"That's what we're fighting for -- is to stop this unconstitutional use of taxpayer dollars going to private, religious institutions," said Rose.
Another hearing was set for March 2 to decide whether there will be an evidentiary hearing.
Vandyke said either way the judge rules in this case, it will most likely end up before the Nevada Supreme Court.
Right now, the ESA program is on hold because of a judge's injunction on a separate case in Carson City. The program was previously scheduled to begin in February.