Nevada to Become Fifth Education Savings Account State
June 3, 2015
In April, Nevada enacted its first school choice program, a tax-credit scholarship for low- and middle-income families. Today, the Nevada Assembly passed Senate Bill 302, a universal education savings account (ESA) bill, that is headed to Gov. Brian Sandoval's desk for approval.
Nevada is the first state to send two school choice bills to the governor in one legislative session. The tax-credit scholarship program was an excellent bill and SB 302 is an even better companion.
If the governor were to sign the ESA bill, Nevada would become the fifth ESA state after Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee. Notably, the bill, authored by Senator Scott Hammond, is by far the broadest ESA as it allows every public school student to access an account.
Here are the details:
- Existing licensed or exempt private schools are allowed to participate. Distance learning programs that are not offered by the public school, a tutor or tutoring agency, a university, state college or community college within the Nevada system of Higher Education, or a parent who has submitted an application to the state treasurer are also allowed to participate.
- If any entity receives more than $50,000 in ESA funds during any school year, the entity must post a surety bond equal to the amount received, or it must demonstrate to the treasurer the ability to pay with unencumbered funds.
- All children must complete a nationally norm-referenced test yearly in mathematics and English and report the results to the Nevada Department of Education (DOE).
- Unless otherwise stated in the legislation, nothing in the legislation will be deemed to limit the independence or autonomy of any participating entity.
The governor has been an avowed proponent of school choice, and earlier in the session signed Nevada's first tax credit scholarship program.
Source: Michael Chartier, "Everything You Need to Know About Nevada's Universal ESA Bill," Friedman Foundation, May 29, 2015.
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