Hello ESA friends,
As many of you know, today should mark the start of a new ESA enrollment period. However, the Treasurer’s office has delayed enrollment pending guidance from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. The office hopes to open the online enrollment portal no later than November 8th, 2016. Yes, enrollment will go back to the online version where you will be prompted to upload your documents. So, be sure get your documents scanned.
If you need help scanning documents, let me know and we can assist with that. Documents needed:
- 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)
- If you answered yes to your child having disabilities you must provide a copy of your current Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a letter from a doctor.
- If you answered yes to your annual household income falling within the 185% poverty line you must provide proof by submitting (a copy of last year’s tax return (first 2 pages) or a current paystub)
- If you are a military family currently serving in Nevada, you must provide a copy of your current orders
So, what about funding?
As you know, the Nevada Supreme Court declared the ESA program constitutional but found the Nevada legislature failed to correctly fund the program. Despite the lack of appropriation, it remains the goal of the Treasurer’s office to continue to accept enrollments into the program while a permanent funding solution is sought. But, folks, be sure to note that, due to a lack of an appropriation, applicants are not guaranteed funding at this time.
For the past several weeks, many parents have been calling on Governor Sandoval and Nevada lawmakers to fund ESA. And, boy, was it a testament to the passion parents have for their children’s education! Unfortunately, it looks like there will continue to be a wait before lawmakers have an opportunity to present a fix.
Even Treasurer Dan Schwartz, whose office expedited regulations, has fought and won two court cases, and who has worked day and night to get ESA funded, sent his apologies to Nevada families over the weekend.
“I can only apologize to Nevada moms and dads,” writes Treasurer Schwartz in an op-ed to the Reno-Gazette Journal, “for our party’s failure to keep our word.” He was referring to Governor Sandoval and Nevada’s Republican legislative leaders who failed to fund ESA during the last special session.
Friends, I admit, I felt deflated this morning. But, I am not defeated!
Governor Sandoval has committed to fund ESA in 2017. Nevadans, I have no doubt, will hold him to that. Call me crazy, but I still have faith. So, I’m taking a moment, inhaling a deep breath and gearing up with the folks here at NevadaESA.com to fight strong in 2017. Treasurer Schwartz, Governor Sandoval and 8,000+ plus Nevada kiddos are going to need all the support they can get.
Some of you may recall that NevadaESA.com launched a petition showing support for ESAs back in January. If you have not already done so, be sure to check it out and sign on if you want Nevada’s officials to protect our ESA program.