Key Education Reform Bill to go before Committee Shortly
Legislation to substantially expand school choice in Nevada will be the topic of an Assembly Ways and Means Committee meeting later this week.
Discussion on Assembly Bill 400, designed to bolster education options for families, will be heard at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Room 3137 of the Legislative Building on South Carson Street in Carson City. Videoconference access is available at Room 4406 of the Grant Sawyer Office Building on Washington Street in Las Vegas.
AB 400, introduced on behalf of Gov. Joe Lombardo, has been classified as an exempt bill, meaning it isn’t bound by traditional legislative deadlines for passing out of committee.
The bill seeks to increase the eligibility requirement for Opportunity Scholarships to 500 percent of the federal poverty line. It would substantially bolster funding for the program while creating the Office of School Choice to help families with education options. AB 400 would also allow open enrollment for public school students.
The goal is to free families to make education decisions that work best for them, rather than forcing them into a one-size-fits-all system.
Already this year several states have significantly changed how they fund K-12 education. Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa and Utah have passed legislation this year making it easier for families to use taxpayer dollars to allow their children to take advantage of the option that best suits their needs.
Assembly Bill 400 would also:
- ·Allow charter schools to apply for public money to bus children to campuses;
- Allow for charter school development to address overcrowding;
- Allow for a city or county to become a sponsor of a charter school;
- Create the Nevada Teacher Advancement Scholarship Program;
- Reinstate Read by Third Grade; and
- Establish the Early Childhood Literacy and Readiness Account.
One of the most meaningful changes would come in funding for the Opportunity Scholarship program, currently set at less than $6.7 million annually. Under the bill, funding would increase to $50 million initially, with further incremental increases to $500 million by fiscal year 2032.
“Funding the Opportunity Scholarship program is about fighting for equality in education by giving low- and middle-income families the resources they need to access the same educational options and classrooms that are currently only available to wealthy families,” Power2Parent President Erin Phillips told Nevada Policy recently.
* * *
How You Can Get Involved:
- Contact the Ways and Means Committee members to urge them to pass AB 400.
- Attend the meeting in person and testify in support for the bill.
- Testify over the phone. Call (888) 475-4499 on the date of the meeting. When prompted, provide Meeting ID 81478038922 and then press #. When prompted for a Participant ID, press #.
- Testify via email. Send your written testimony to AsmWM@asm.state.nv.us by noon Tuesday, April 25th.
Nevada Policy’s Action Center makes it easy for you to contact the committee members and show your support for the bill. Simply fill in your name and contact information, and we’ll make sure the letter is emailed to all of the committee members.