For Immediate Release
Contact Chantal Lovell
May 27, 2015
702-222-0642, 951-295-4855 (cell)
CARSON CITY — This afternoon, the Nevada Senate passed SB302, which would create the best school choice program in the country, by an 11-to-8 vote.
If passed, Senate Bill 302, which now moves to the Nevada Assembly, would allow parents to establish an Education Savings Account instead of sending their child to public schools. The ESA would provide parents with 90 to 100 percent of the average funding in the Distributive School Account, to use for their child’s education. Unlike a voucher, ESA funds can be used on a variety of education expenditures, including private school tuition, tutoring, distance learning and even transportation expenses. ESAs allow parents to customize their child’s education in a way that is best tailored to their child’s unique needs. If money is left over in the account, it can be saved and used in following years.
In response to the landmark vote, NPRI’s Executive Vice President Victor Joecks issued the following remarks:
Today, we applaud the eleven visionary Senators who voted to create the best school choice program in the entire country. By passing SB302, these Senators voted to give Nevada families more choice than they’ve ever had before in education and to give Nevada students the greatest opportunity for success they’ve ever had. The Education Savings Accounts program that would be created if the Assembly and Governor Sandoval follow suit and pass SB302 would allow all Nevada children — regardless of their family’s financial ability — to have an education that is tailored to their unique needs and talents, thereby giving them the best chance to succeeding academically.
With SB302, all parents will be able to select the school, school type and support services that are best for their child. Over two-dozen states already have school-choice programs in place, and those programs are increasing student achievement for students who participate in the choice options and even the students who remain in public school.
Joecks noted that SB302 only provides ESA funding from the DSA funds, so per-pupil spending in local school districts will increase every time a parent and child choose to use an ESA. That’s because school district get to keep all the funding from local sources outside the DSA and federal dollars, while having fewer students to educate. Joecks also noted that providing ESAs would ease any overcrowding issues faced by school districts without requiring a property tax increase.
Nevadans should be grateful to bill sponsor Sen. Scott Hammond for his leadership and vision and to Sens. Becky Harris, Ben Kieckhefer and Michael Roberson for shepherding what would be the best school choice program in the country through their committees and the Senate floor.
With SB302, Nevada is poised to lead the way in the school choice movement, and we urge the Assembly to pass this bill and send it to Gov. Sandoval for his signature.