LAS VEGAS – Hundreds of Nevada children learned today that they will no longer be able to attend the school that works best for them.
The Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee met Wednesday in Las Vegas and shot down a proposal to use $3.2 million of unallocated federal COVID-19 funds for the state’s needs-based educational choice scholarship program, known as the Opportunity Scholarship program.
Because the Democrat-controlled legislature denied funding for Opportunity Scholarships – even though public school spending was increased by a record $2 billion during the 2023 session – hundreds of children will be uprooted and forced into different schools for the 2023-24 school year.
“It’s incredibly unfortunate that members of our legislature have chosen to squash the hopes of children and parents in order to ingratiate themselves with teachers unions and public school zealots,” said John Tsarpalas, president of Nevada Policy.
“While other states throughout the country are embracing school choice, Nevada is moving backward, punishing children and parents who only want a chance at a better education,” he added.
The Opportunity Scholarship program was established in 2015 and provides funds for students to apply toward tuition, fees and transportation costs to attend private school, according to the Nevada Department of Education.
Gov. Joe Lombardo announced last week he would seek to use federal funds to prevent hundreds of children from losing their Opportunity Scholarships.
The Interim Finance Committee had two options Wednesday: Allow the unused COVID-19 money to go to students or deny children the funding needed for Opportunity Scholarships.
The committee listened to testimony from children, parents, school choice advocates and others, but declined to move forward with Lombardo’s plan.