About School Choice

In 2015, the State of Nevada passed two bills that can provide tuition money for private school students (School Choice). The first, SB 302, is available to all students who have attended Clark County Schools for at least 100 days or are 5 or 6 years old or from a family with an active military service person. The second, AB165, is based on financial need. The following is their current status.

-Mrs. Ingalls

School Choice Bills Update - 1/10/17

In 2015, the State of Nevada passed two bills that can provide tuition money for private school students (School Choice). The first, SB 302, is available to all students who have attended Clark County Schools for at least 100 days or are 5 or 6 years old or from a family with an active military service person. The second, AB165, is based on financial need. The following is their current status.

SB302, Educational Savings Accounts (ESA’s) have been declared constitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court and would provide $5,000 for each student to use towards their private school tuition. Currently they are on hold waiting for a funding source which may come during the 2017 Legislative Session. We encourage all 5 and 6 year olds to apply as they are exempt from the 100 days in public school provision or any student that is transferring from a CCSD school. Please only apply once at http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/SchoolChoice/Home/

AB165 The second program is the scholarship program based on the household size and income. Scholarships of up to $7,750 are available. If your household earns 300% or less of the poverty level as determined by the federal government, your family will be eligible. (if 2 people in the household must have a household income less than $48,060, 3 people must have less than $60,480, 4 people less than $72,900, 5 people less than $85,320 and 6 people less than $97,740, etc.) Income information comes from 2016’s federal tax return. If your family qualifies, you will want to go to the web page: http://www.doe.nv.gov/Private_Schools/Nevada_Choice_Scholarship_Program/

Under “Scholarship Organizations” in the right hand column click on the link for Registered SGOs 2017-2018. Contact these groups for applications and other details. Each entity has its own application process and deadlines which vary from organization to organization. Scholarship funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis of completed applications. Scholarships are funded by the Modified Business Tax thru the Nevada Department of Taxation.

School Choice Bills Update - 9/28/16

The ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court on Educational Savings Accounts (ESA) has been made. It was both good and bad news. The good; ESA's are not unconstitutional and can be used for religious schools. The bad news is that the funding cannot come from the DSA as planned. It appears that another law will have to be passed to ensure funding of the program so they are again on hold until that happens.

For more information go to http://www.npri.org/issues/publication/esas-take-big-step-forward-with-supreme-court-ruling

School Choice Bills Update - 6/28/16

There are two distinct School Choice programs.

1) SB302 ESA (Education Savings Accounts) Gives each student $5,000 to use for private education and is currently on hold due to law suits. Oral arguments for both the Lopez injunction and the Duncan ACLU appeal will be heard by the Nevada Supreme Court on July 29th unless an extension is granted. The earliest possible funding date for this program is November and if it moves forward then the Treasurer’s office will be accepting applications August 1st – Sept30th. We encourage all 5 and 6 year olds to apply as they are exempt from the 100 days in public school provision. You can find additional details and updates at: http://www.nevadatreasurer.gov/SchoolChoice/Home/.

2) AB165 The second program is the scholarship program based on the household size and income. Scholarships of up to $7,750 are available. If your household earns 300% or less of the poverty level as determined by the federal government, your family will be eligible. (if 2 people in the household must have a household income less than $48,060, 3 people must have less than $60,480, 4 people less than $72,900, 5 people less than $85,320 and 6 people less than $97,740, etc.)

If your family qualifies, you will want to go to the web page: http://www.doe.nv.gov/Private_Schools/Nevada_Choice_Scholarship_Program/and under “Scholarship Organizations” in the right hand column click on the link for Registered SGOs 2016-2017. Contact these groups for applications and other details. Each entity has its own application which when completed must be returned to them with their application fee. They will then decide if they have funding for a scholarship for your child or children.

School Choice Bills Update - 1/12/16

Judge James Wilson, Jr., issued a temporary injunctionblocking the Nevada Treasurer from implementing the ESA program. In his ruling, Judge Wilson asserts that the program "violates Article 11, Section 3, Section 6.1 and Section 2 and that irreparable harm will result if an injunction is not entered."For the moment, this ruling freezes the ESA program and no money will be forthcoming unless the Nevada Supreme Court overturns this decision. 

School Choice Bills Update - 1/7/15

Dear GV Christian Family,

Over the holidays the legislature met and approved the following exemptions to the 100 day rule to apply for an ESA:

The regulations provided two exemptions to the 100 day rule, those are:

  1. If your child is over 5 by September 30th of the school year and under age 7, they would be exempted from the 100 days. This means that children who are not required by Nevada law to attend a public school could exercise their educational choice without having to obtain 100 days in the public school system.

  2. If you are an active duty military family, who is based in Nevada, your children will not have to obtain the 100 days in a Nevada public school. This will help aid in the already difficult transition for families as they become stationed in Nevada.  This is just a small way for Nevada to say thank you for your service, and welcome.

If you fall in either one of these categories and have not yet applied for an Educational Savings Account ($5,000 a year to be used toward private school per child), I would strongly urge you to apply when the enrollment reopens on February 1st at www.nevadatreasurer.gov/SchoolChoice/Early_Enrollment/.

School Choice Bills Update - 12/9/15

Dear GV Christian Parents,

The Nevada Policy Institute has sent out a letter to inform parents whose students already attend private schools that there may be a way for Governor Sandoval to change the law to allow students to qualify for a smaller ESA if they already attend private school. Here is the letter that the school received. Please read it and support the amendment.

Mrs. Ingalls

Dear Administrators,

As you know, over the last six months there's been a huge public outcry over the 100-day rule in Education Savings Accounts and how unjust it is for current private school families. Right now, there is a one-time shot to fix this.

While Treasurer Schwartz has been sympathetic to those concerns, the only way to fix this issue before the 2017 legislative session is for Gov. Sandoval to call a special session and for lawmakers to find a way to pay for it.

It is being reported that Gov. Sandoval is going to call a special session next Wednesday, Dec. 16, to give tax breaks to a car company. He needs to hear from you and from every parent at your school that eliminating the 100-day requirement from ESAs must be on the agenda. His office number is 775-684-5670. It is imperative that you call this week! He needs to hear from thousands of fired up families to feel the pressure necessary to make this happen.

And the good news is that NPRI has identified how to pay for this without raising taxes or cutting wasteful General Fund spending ? which makes this politically possible. The details are here, but in short, current private school students would get a $2,000 ESA for the 2016-17 school year, with the amount of the ESA growing to $3,000 in FY18, $3,500 in FY19, $4,500 in FY20, and then fully catching up in FY21.

It's not perfect, but it's much better than the status quo. It's a plan with a real shot politically.

After you call Gov. Sandoval, parents should also call the following Legislative leaders. If these leadership officials wanted, they could persuade Sandoval to consider expanding ESAs to current private-school parents by refusing to pass Sandoval's car company tax breaks.

· Sen. Majority Leader Michael Roberson,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 702-612-6929

· Assembly Speaker John Hambrick,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,702-242-8580

· Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,702-410-6645

The special session is happening next week, and this will be the only chance to fix this for the foreseeable future."

Karen Gray, NPRI Citizen Engagement Coordinator

School Choice Bill Update - 9/3/15

Dear GV Christian Parents,

Here is the latest on the School Choice Bills. This was written by the Association of Christian Schools International, our accreditting organization. If you have any questions please feel free to contact your administrator.

TO: Nevada ACSI Christian school leaders

FROM: The ACSI Legal/Legislative office and RM Regional Director

RE: Nevada school choice / ESA update

By now you know, late last week the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Nevada ESA program. This communication is to update you on the possible impact it will have on your school and families across the state. Typically once the ACLU and other groups file a suit to stop a school choice program, they have sought a temporary hold to prevent the school choice program from operating until the court case has run its course (often taking years to do so).

The ACLU has indicated it will seek a judge's order to stop the ESA program from going forward while the constitutionality of the ESA is litigated. The chances of the ACLU being granted this immediate stop to the ESA is more likely than not in the opinion of ACSI.

What if the ACLU is granted a temporary hold on the program?

If granted, the ESA will not operate until the many levels of court battles have run their course. If this case makes its way to the Nevada Supreme Court it will likely take 2-3 years, which it is likely to do. If this case makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court it would likely take 3-5 years, which is more of a long shot. Parents who have signed-up for an ESA would not be able to use it until the case has run its course.

What if the ACLU is denied a temporary hold on the program?

If denied, the program would be allowed to operate until the initial trial takes place and the judge offers an opinion on its constitutionality (probably sometime in mid to late 2016). At that point, the losing side would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Nevada. Parents in the program during this time would risk having funding cut mid-year either through the ESA being found unconstitutional or through a temporary hold being put on the program and the funds frozen until a final outcome in court is made.

How do school families proceed from this point?

Every Nevada parent with children in a private or Christian school should be encouraged to engage their legislator and their governor, graciously expressing their frustration at the process, support of the law and the state, and their opposition to the ACLU lawsuit. While schools and organizations can speak into the process, it is the voting public that has the greatest voice.

Secondly, parents must show up at public hearings and procedural workshops to make their voices known and to bring testimonies of the benefit of the law to their children and to the state. As was repeated many times over, their input is their right as voters and citizens of the state. If necessary, they should also generate winsomely crafted letters to the state's leadership to reinforce their input and concerns.

Obviously, parents can choose to engage the existing procedures and qualifying expectations. Unfortunately, at this junction the rollout of the ESA and corp tax credit monies appears to be headed for a bumpy time with implementation timelines potentially delayed and payments possibly withheld by the courts. Caution would be the best advice we can give those parents.

ACSI remains committed to engaging the state leadership and keeping you, and your parents, informed. You are free to distribute this notification, in whole or part, to your parents.

Regretfully and cautiously,

PHILIP SCOTT, ESQ.
In-House Counsel
Assistant Director for Legal Legislative Issues

School Choice Bill Update - 8/8/15

Dear GV Christian Family,

There has been a change in the eligibility rules. Dual enrollment is now not an option. If you still want to enroll your child in CCSD to gain the 100 days so you will be elgible for the Educational Savings Account I will start working on a plan to keep them academically strong, especially in math. Here was the annoucement.

OFFICE OF THE NEVADA STATE TREASURER

Nevada's Education Savings Account Program

State Treasurer's Office Clarifies ESA Eligibility

(Carson City, NV) - The Treasurer's Office has been notified by the Nevada Department of Education that pursuant to NRS 388.850, a private school or "home school" student may not participate in a program of distance education (online class) to satisfy the 100 school day requirement. Nevada Revised Statute 388.850 prevents a private school or "home school" student from enrolling in a program of distance education (online class).

However, a private school or "home school" student may qualify for an ESA by taking one or more classes in a public or charter school, pursuant to NRS 386.580(5) and 392.070(3).

"This is not the outcome we had proposed," said Grant Hewitt, Treasurer's Chief of Staff. "With school starting in just a few days, we want to ensure that parents had clarity on the issue. We hope that the Legislature addresses this issue in an upcoming legislative session so students can qualify for an ESA though a program of distance education while still attending their primary education choice," Hewitt said.

In an online note, State Treasurer Dan Schwartz added, "We're still pleased that prospective ESA account holders may satisfy the 100 school day requirement by enrolling in one (or more) courses at a public or charter school. And, of course, Nevadans are still encouraged to voice their opinions at our upcoming August 21 Workshop."


School Choice Bill Update - 8/5/15

school choiceHere are the latest recommendations based on the ever changing information we are receiving on the School Choice Bills recently passed in Nevada:

AB165

Scholarships up to $7,750 based on economic need. Family must be at 300% of the poverty level or below to qualify. We are a registered school. See Nevada Choice Scholarship Program for more information and a list of Scholarship Organizations to apply at.

SB302

If your child attended CCSD for the 2014-2015 school year, you are eligible if you complete an early application before the first day of school (August 17th). Go to www.nevadatreasurer.gov/SchoolChoice/Early_Enrollment/

Any child entering kindergarten or first grade (child under the age of 7) should try for an Educational Savings Account by submitting an early application at the above website. Exact regulations on this age group are still up in the air.

Children that did not attend a CCSD school during 2014-2015 can receive eligibility in the following ways:

Students entering 2nd thru 5th grade can enroll in online CCSD class for 100 days while simultaneously attending GV Christian School. An individualized study plan will be made during the first weeks of school so that the student can do both.

Students entering 6th thru 12th grade can enroll in one online CCSD course (must be one we don't offer) for 100 days to gain eligibility. Then can submit an application to the State Treasurer's office in February when they have completed 100 days.

At this point, the first ESA money will be distributed on April 1 for $1250 per qualifying student. We are prepared to help our parents in any way we can in order to benefit from this legislation. If you have any additional questions, please register your email with the Nevada State Treasurer's office to receive up to the minute updates.