Political games kill nation's most promising educational choice program

  • Tuesday, June 6, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Schaus, 702-222-0642

LAS VEGAS, NV — The Nevada Policy Research Institute sends its deepest regrets to the thousands of families that will be left without educational options, now that Education Savings Accounts are officially dead in the state legislature.

“It disheartening to see that, for many lawmakers, politics are more important than the needs of individual children,” said NPRI Communication Director Michael Schaus.

According to Schaus, political games and backroom deals ultimately killed the Governor’s proposed ESA fix, SB506.

“It was disheartening to see so many political special interests cheering the fact that 10,000 families won’t have educational options that better suit their children,” Schaus said.

“It’s equally as disheartening to see that Governor Sandoval has refused to entertain a special session — essentially waving the white flag on what would have been the single most impressive educational choice program in the nation.”

While ESAs were killed in a back-room agreement among senators of both parties, a one-time increase was given to the current tax-scholarship program for low-income families, The Opportunity Scholarship Program, of $20 million over the next two years.

“It’s being portrayed as a silver lining to an otherwise outright surrender by Sandoval and a handful of pro-ESA Republicans. But, for more than half the students who were counting on ESAs for their educational future, it is no such thing.” said Schaus.

“At the end of the day, political expediency got in the way of lawmakers standing up for all Nevada students in need of choice.”

The loss will have a long-lasting impact on Nevada’s future generations, according to Schaus.

“We were on the verge of seeing a gold rush of innovation flood the state with universal ESAs. Now, we’ve taken a giant step back toward the tried-and-failed status quo,” Schaus said. “It’s a sad narrative for a state that has repeatedly failed to provide quality education for our younger generations.”

###