ESAs are already a success story — but we can still make them better
Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.
When Nevada’s Legislature meets next week for a special session, an opportunity will present itself to expand Education Savings Accounts to every child in the state.
Although Nevada’s ESA program is the most comprehensive school choice program in the nation — accessible to roughly 93 percent of Nevada students — students must be in public school for 100 consecutive days in order to qualify. This means that families that just moved to the state, students currently enrolled in a private school and homeschooled children aren’t eligible for ESAs under current law.
It’s amazing for Nevada to have the best school choice program in the country, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it even better.
The main objection to expanding ESAs to all students is a real one: How do you pay for it?
Fortunately, NPRI has found a way. I hope you’ll take a minute to read the report we released on Monday, which shows how to meet that funding question without raising taxes or even redirecting General Fund spending that’s clearly wasteful.
But this fix, too — just like the initial passage of the ESA legislation — faces an uphill battle. Reporters have been told that expanding ESA eligibility will not be included on the special session agenda, however public pressure can change things.
You, me, parents, voters and advocates of school choice will have to fight to get this issue included on the agenda for the special session.
You can do that by contacting the following lawmakers and letting them know this is a priority for you and the children you love.
- Gov. Brian Sandoval, 775-684-5670
- Sen. Majority Leader Michael Roberson, Michael.Roberson@sen.state.nv.us, 702-612-6929
- Assembly Speaker John Hambrick, John.Hambrick@asm.state.nv.us, 702-242-8580
- Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson, Paul.Anderson@asm.state.nv.us, 702-410-6645
Without substantial public pressure, many politicians will be happy to let this unique opportunity slip by.
I look forward to seeing which lawmakers listen to parents, and take advantage of this special session to improve an already impressive reform.
But that’s not the only thing on my radar next week.
While lawmakers meet in Carson City, I hope to see you at NPRI’s open house event at our Las Vegas office at 7130 Placid St, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Our open house is next Wednesday, Dec. 16 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Additional information is available here.
It’s always fun to see so many of our friends and supporters. It was wonderful to see so many old and new friends at our open house event in Reno last month, and I’m sure the event in Las Vegas will be just as special.
As you can see, next week will be full of news — hopefully including some good news for school choice. I look forward to discussing these issues, and more, with those of you who attend our open house event in Las Vegas.
Sharon J. Rossie
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