Seeing the ESA program over the finish line

Good afternoon ESA friends,

It’s hard to believe, but we are just days away from the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session. On Monday, February 6, the legislature will convene in Carson City. And, Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program promises to be a topic hotly debated.

As you know, the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled the ESA program constitutional. The hold-up on the program has to do with legislative appropriations. Without funding from the legislature, the program cannot move forward — and thus, thousands of families have been left floundering.

For lawmakers in support of the program, helping those thousands of children is a-hill-to-die-for, and they’ve vowed: “No ESA funding — No budget.”

Lawmakers who oppose the program vow unequivocally: “No ESA funding!”

Without a doubt, Nevada’s children — children who for decades have been trapped in a failing education system — are caught in the political crosshairs.

Now, lest you think otherwise, the ESA program absolutely should not, in any way, be about partisan politics. It should be — and for NevadaESA.com it is — about the lives and future of Nevada’s children. Thousands of Nevada families are clinging to the hope of ESA and the opportunities it opens. So this program is about the lives and futures of children — their children and our children.

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that our children’s future is indeed caught up in a game of partisan politics. But there is hope — despite everything you will probably hear in coming weeks.

That’s because of the one area where every politician is accountable: Regardless of political-party affiliation or special-interest demands, all legislators know that it’s their constituents — the voters — to whom they’re responsible most of all.

Friends, if you’re tired, ticked-off and find the system discouraging, you’re not alone. I’m there too. But all of us ESA supporters — parents and community members alike — can see the finish line ahead, right before us.

So, it’s more important than ever before that we understand: Now is the time to fight — fight hard — and see the ESA program over the finish line.

Now, I’m not talking about putting on boxing gloves and going toe-to-toe with your representatives. I’m talking about taking 10 to 20 minutes a day to make sure your representative and all Nevada’s elected officials know your story and desire for this program. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this, which I will discuss over the next few weeks.

First and foremost, however: If you have previously applied for an ESA, you must go to the Treasurer’s ESA portal and Hit Submit! Whether you’ve previously been approved or mailed in your application in 2016, everyone will have to go into the portal to verify their information and upload any missing documents. Everyone! To be in the official application count, you must fully complete your application online and hit that final submit button in the new system.

To check if your application has been entered into the new database and set your password, parents should follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Treasurer’s ESA portal.
  2. Click on the “Forgot Password” tab.
  3. Enter the email used for your child’s application
    1. If you have been entered into the system, a link to set your password will be sent to your email. Follow that link to set your password. Then complete your application.
    2. If your information is still pending data entry — about 1700 applications have yet to be entered by the Treasurer — keep checking back with the “Forgot Password” function. Applications are being entered daily. DO NOT REAPPLY!!

Remember, ultimately, everyone must verify and update their applications through the new portal.

Only applications finalized through the portal will be counted!

I know this process can be overwhelming. NevadaESA.com is here to help you. We will be holding several Hit Submit! events across the state in the upcoming months. Be sure to check our events page for dates and times. If you have them, bring your laptop and microSD or USB flashdrive for a faster process. Scanners will be available, so bring your documents.

Currently, we have the following events confirmed:

  • Wednesday, February 8

6:00 p.m.
Innovations Academy
5705 N. Rainbow (Ann and Rainbow area)

 

  • Thursday, February 9 (drop-in)

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
NPRI Office
7130 Placid St., Las Vegas, 89119

Several more events are in the works and should be confirmed soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need any assistance with the application process, feel free to email me at kg@npri.org or call the office at 702-222-0642.

Required documents include:

  • Copy of the parent’s valid Government issued ID.
  • A certified or verified copy of the student’s birth certificate (this can be a clear photo copy) AND Proof of legal guardianship (if you’re not the biological parent).
  • Copy of your most current utility bill (applicant parent name and address) OR Copy of current property tax bill OR rental lease agreement (applicant parent name and address).
  • Proof of income — first two pages of last year’s tax return or a current pay stub.
  • Proof of 100 days — four report cards, letter from school or attendance record.
  • If you answered yes to the question about your child having disabilities, you must provide a copy of your current Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a letter from a doctor.
  • If you are a military family currently serving in Nevada, you must provide a copy of your current orders.

Now, for some really good news, Treasurer Dan Schwartz has released the new enrollment dates for 2017.

New applications are currently being accepted through April 2017. If you have not yet applied for the ESA program and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply through the Treasurer’s ESA portal. Applications submitted during this period are slated for August 2017 funding.

The next enrollment period will be August 2017 through October 2017 and will begin funding in February 2018.

Of course, all program funding depends on the 2017 legislature. Also, please note, while the 2017 enrollment periods are for a longer time period, there are only two enrollment periods this year.

For more information on the ESA program and eligibility visit NevadaESA.com. If you would like to learn more about participating in the legislative process, send me an email at kg@npri.org. Also, be sure to sign the ESA petition at NevadaESA.com and sign up for the updates. And, share this email with all your friends!

As always, thank you for the trust you’ve placed in NevadaESA.com. Now, let’s Hit Submit!

#LetOurChildrenSucceed

~Karen


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