Good Afternoon Friends,
Well, we’re halfway through February and what should have been the highest point — funding for educational options — in the nation’s most expansive educational choice program. Instead, the lives and futures of nearly 4000 children hang the balance while Nevada families anxiously wait to hear from the state supreme court.
Yesterday, there was a status check on discovery in the Duncan case, which is the lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the ESA program. In that case, one obstacle was removed when the judge did not grant a hearing for a preliminary injunction, as one already exists. While it might not seem like a big deal because the program remains frozen, it means the Duncan court now can get on with proceedings and decide the case.
During the status check, the ACLU was given until February 19 to provide the court an outline of any remaining facts to be explored in their case. Let’s just hope they don’t need to drag out the process with a bunch of depositions, interrogatories and other fishing expeditions. The Institute for Justice — representing the intervening ESA parents — was given until February 26 to respond. The IJ did not need more time for discovery.
In the Lopez case — the lawsuit with the injunction holding up the program — we are still waiting to hear from the Supreme Court on whether there will be an expedited hearing. Both parties have agreed to one.
With all this waiting, I understand it can be frustrating and families may be thinking of giving up. Please, hold strong! Yes, by all means, make the decisions best for your family and children. But, don’t give up on the program. Now more than ever, the program needs support and for families to rally.
Since the beginning of 2016, we have signed up approximately 100 new families to this e-list because of all of your hard work rallying behind ESAs. Please, keep spreading the word. And, as always, I am happy to come speak and help with applications in your churches, schools, civic groups, places of business, sport practices, homes— anywhere we can share the word of ESA. I’m happy to answer any questions. Be sure to reach out.
Other initiatives NPRI has rolled out: A petition from parents urging lawmakers to defend, protect and advance the ESA program. Be sure to sign the petition at NevadaESA.com and share it on Facebook. We have also started a social-media campaign #LetOurChildrenSucceed. Use the hashtag in all your social-media conversations about ESAs or education in general.
And, please, please continue to send in your stories about why ESAs are the choice for your child and how this injunction is affecting your family and your children. This program should not be about politics. At stake are the real futures of real children. There cannot be too many stories. For every application there is a child, and we want to bring that fact to light.
February also marks the first open-enrollment period of 2016. While the Treasurer cannot process any applications at this time, the office is accepting them. If you meet the eligibility requirement of 100 days in a public school, and were contemplating the program, be sure to submit your application. When submitting your applications, be sure to mail them certified with a return receipt in order to verify the application made it to the office. If you hand them in, ask for a receipt or something to verify receipt. And, be sure to post a comment on #LetOurChildrenSucceed!
Happy birthday to all our presidents! Enjoy your weekend!