What’s going on with Nevada’s ESA program?

Karen Gray

Tomorrow marks the end of National School Choice Week 2016. And, while Nevada celebrated school-choice this week like it was 1999, the reality is there’s much hanging in the balance— the future of more than 4000 Nevada children.

Today, the question on everyone’s mind is: what’s going on with Nevada’s ESA program?

Well, we’re not yet over the hump on the legal front. There is still a court injunction freezing the program, which means the Treasurer’s office has halted all application processing, funding, and other program initiatives. So, if you are waiting for a notice about your application, it is on hold. No notices are going out. Early applications in the kindergarten pending file, are, well, still pending. They will not be processed until further notice.

However, there has been some movement in the case since early January. An appeal has been filed with the Nevada Supreme Court, seeking to have the injunction lifted. The State of Nevada has also officially asked for the case to be expedited. The estimates to have a decision still range between a “few weeks” and “several months.” But, we will have a better feel for what that actually means once the appeal proceedings get off the ground.

Many of you have been writing and calling to ask if there will be an enrollment in February. Unfortunately, the Treasurer is unable to open enrollment and process applications at this time. However, a revised PDF application has been posted on the treasurer’s website. And while the office cannot process applications, they have said they will set aside, for future processing, any application received.

For what it’s worth, I would suggest waiting until at least February 1st if you are hankering to submit an application, and do so only by certified return-receipt mail.  

As a few words of encouragement, the Treasurer’s office has said that once the injunction is lifted, they are ready to pick up right where they left off.

Also, the Treasurer has released the parent and participating entity handbooks — which, hopefully, will help answer some of your questions. A lot of information is in these handbooks, so I’d recommend parents and participating entities read up while we wait.

In the meantime, I suggest you check out the petition to save ESAs on NevadaESA.com! Since it was launched on Tuesday, hundreds of supporters have already signed it. If we’re serious about saving ESAs, we have to show Nevada’s public officials that this is a reform Nevada parents demand. Sign the petition, and share it with your friends, family and coworkers. 

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out and I’ll work on tracking down the answers.