ACLU case dismissed against ESAs

Karen Gray

Alright, am I the only one who forgot to cook dinner and had a hard time falling asleep last night!?

Just in case you missed it: Yesterday, District Court Judge, Eric Johnson, dismissed the ACLU case challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s Education Savings Account program.

I will tell you, I cried tears of joy.  For so long, Nevada families have been on an emotional rollercoaster, and I was completely overwhelmed when I heard the news. I just bawled like a baby.  And now, I admit, I’m still floating a few feet off the ground.

Okay, sure, there’s still an injunction and there is still a long road ahead — but I am taking this win as an opportunity to stop, smell the flowers and live in the moment.

Last night, after finally getting pork chops on the table, I sat down to really review Judge Johnson’s ruling and get an email to everyone on this list.  But my mind just couldn’t stay focused.  I kept thinking about all the families with which I’ve spoken, all the families that are praying for this opportunity and everyone else who is waiting and holding strong.  By midnight, I still hadn’t gotten through the order. Nor had I written one word.

Then, as I read — for the hundredth time— these words, “This Court concludes Plaintiffs have not alleged facts establishing its claim that the Legislature's creation of the ESA program violates Article XI, section 10, prohibiting the use of public funds for a sectarian purpose. Plaintiffs' claim is dismissed,” it occurred to me, I wasn’t doing anyone a service by trying to rush through things. Not at all.

Since January, Nevada’s parents have been staying strong, keeping patient and digging their heels in for strength.  Yesterday, however, Judge Johnson gave us all an opportunity to exhale a deep breath, smile from ear-to-ear and celebrate. So, please, pardon my indulgence, but I just need to exhale for a minute.

Let’s take a day or two and embrace this moment. Tomorrow’s road will be there…well, tomorrow.

In fact, starting next week, and several fabulous partners will hold three ESA/tax scholarship community information meetings. While these events have been in the planning for weeks, their timing on May 24th , May 25th  and May 31st provides tremendous opportunity for families to get the “latest from the greatest”!

Representatives from the Treasurer's and Attorney General's office, plus Donna Wix from the Department of Education, will all be present to provide updates, information and answer your questions on the programs and ESA lawsuits. I will also be there to answer questions, and help parents with applications and document scanning.

Not only could these events be the last chance to get large numbers of families informed in time to apply for the Education Savings Accounts and the Tax Scholarships for the start of the upcoming 2016-17 school year, it is also a great opportunity to ask the experts about the road ahead, and what we should learn from the judge’s ruling.

Also, we can take the time to say, “thank you” to those officials and their teams who have worked so hard for Nevada families and children.  Imagine how they will feel seeing the actual faces of the parents and children for which they are fighting.  I can’t think of a better way to say, “THANK YOU!”

Whether you have already applied for an ESA, — you don’t need to reapply — are sitting on the fence, or seeking to learn about Nevada’s educational choice opportunities for the first time, I invite you to attend these public events.  And, please, let’s spread the word to other families.