Hello ESA friends

Karen Gray

Well, I’m guessing you all know the Nevada Supreme Court’s ESA decision is in. But, just in case you’ve missed it, yesterday the Court finally issued its rulings on the different ESA lawsuits. The ruling was mixed — upholding the program’s constitutionality but striking down the funding as state lawmakers implemented it in 2015.

Okay, I admit, that sounds a little wishy-washy and ambivalent. And, I’m sure if you’ve been watching all the media coverage, many of you are completely confused.

It would be natural with the contradictory shouts of “We won!” “No, WE won!” – and media headlines saying both sides claim victory, and media outlets reporting “ESA program shutdown!” and “ESA program lives on!”

Who wouldn’t be confused?

Hopefully, I can give you some clarity.

First off, ESA lives on! Yesterday was a landmark day. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in favor of the program, declaring the program itself constitutional. This was a critical hurdle to overcome.

Unfortunately, for the 8,000 children anxiously waiting to utilize this program, the Supreme Court also held that the program was improperly appropriated and therefore cannot be funded using the Distributive Student Account (DSA) funds as planned. In layman’s terms, the program is constitutional, but remains unfunded. But, this, my friends is fixable. Issues of funding and the mechanics of such are common legislative fixes.

In fact, Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz has already called on Governor Sandoval to add ESA funding to the agenda for the proposed upcoming special session on the Vegas football stadium. If Sandoval places the ESA on special session agenda, lawmakers can fund the program. And, folks, there IS hope for that. Governor Sandoval has been a champion of school choice. It is possible that — with the help of Sandoval’s leadership — ESAs could be funded for this school year.

Parents across the state are already asking Governor Sandoval to save their children by placing the country’s #1 educational choice program on the special session agenda. Yesterday, Sandoval said the issue should wait until February. But, just this afternoon, reports came in saying Sandoval has not decided whether or not to put it on agenda. You can find Governor Sandoval’s phone number and email on the parent Facebook group ACE of Nevada. And, if you are a twitter person, they even have his twitter handle.

I’m not a big social media person, but I say, #LetOurChildrenSucceed and let Nevada parents lead the way!!

You parents can also contact your lawmakers to let them know you strongly support the ESA and would like them to do so also. If you enter your address here, it will link you to your Nevada representatives. You can call and email them to let them know how you feel.

After all: ESA is not about partisan politics – it’s about your children’s lives and futures.

As we head into the weekend, please know that yesterday’s ruling IS A WIN! Yes, there is still more to do to reach the finish line. But, thank goodness, there is more that CAN still be done.

As always, I am happy to answer questions you may have. We will stay strong!