LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Nevada School Choice Coalition, a project of the American Federation for Children, and several Hispanic mothers demanded more school options for their children in Nevada with a Zumba event at Sunset Park today.
Parents and their kids got together to dance and get some exercise while expressing their support for better education in our state.
The Nevada School Choice Coalition says that right now, families have options besides a traditional public school, but they are limited.
Those options are charter schools which are public, private schools, and homeschooling programs, but lack of funding and the financial struggle of many families makes it difficult for them to even have access.
In 2019, Nevada's Opportunity Scholarship Program helped over 2,300 low-income children attend the private schools of their choice. However, after a harmful provision was added during the last legislative session, there are now only 1,055 children in the state who have the option to utilize this program.
The provision, which limits Opportunity Scholarship funds to only those students currently using the program, does not allow for families with younger children now reaching school age to also participate.
Furthermore, if a student’s family moves, the funds cannot be redirected to another eligible and deserving student.
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In essence, the provision will simply phase out this opportunity for families who need this scholarship, leaving them few, if any, options.
This is why families in Nevada are demanding more options.
In Nevada, there are 73 charter schools that serve more than 58,000 students, which is approximately 10% of the state’s K-12 population.
However, these charter schools do not have access to facilities funds, which are generated by property taxes.
The average capital revenue source in 2015 was $1,288 per pupil in school districts.
Charter schools do not receive these funds and must use operating funding to meet their facilities’ needs.
The lack of facilities funding makes it challenging for new charter schools to open in areas of need, as well as placing a shameful additional burden on the existing Title I public charter schools that currently serve more than 16,000 low-income students.
This is something that community and government leaders are trying to change.
There are a couple of bills that could be voted in the following months about school choices, including facilities funding for charter schools.
If you would like to get more information about school choices, contact the Nevada School Choice Coalition at nevadaschoolchoice.com or call 1-877-996-8372.