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0000017c-5ad9-ded9-afff-7bdfe3150003 With the passage of Senate Bill 302, Nevada lawmakers approved what's being called the most comprehensive school choice program in the country. Basically, families can apply to have the state subsidize their child's private or homeschool education through what's called an education savings account or ESA.Each child will receive roughly $5,000, but not every Nevada child is currently eligible under the law's so-called 100-day rule, requiring that applicants attend a public school for at least 100 days. That rule is causing the most controversy, but critics are also questioning the program's accessibility and constitutionality, along with its potential effectiveness for repairing K-12 education in Nevada.Reno Public Radio is exploring all of these issues for our series Nevada's Gamble On School Choice.Below is a map of the various private school options available in Washoe County. Click on a pin to see details like the school's name, religious affiliation, tuition, and how far the ESA payout would go toward covering it. 0000017c-5ad9-ded9-afff-7bdfe3160000

Nevada Treasurer Urging Special Session To Revise School Choice Law

Alexa Ard

Excitement is building around Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Program, which will give eligible families about $5,000 a year to subsidize their child’s private or home school education. 

But as the application process gets underway, many parents are also voicing a lot of confusion and frustration. For the latest on the situation, Reno Public Radio’s News Director Michelle Bliss reached out to State Treasurer Dan Schwartz whose office is running the program.

The passage of Senate Bill 302 last spring has brought the nation’s most comprehensive school choice law to Nevada by allowing families to use state funds to help pay for their children's private or homeschool education. Through the program, eligible kids will get about $5,000 a year. 

"The view from 50,000 feet," Schwartz says, "is that we've spent billions of dollars on education, we don't have a lot to show for it, so we're going to give the parents a chance to make the education decisions for their kids."

Schwartz's office has received nearly 3,000 applications from families so far and interest remains high. One sticking point, though, is the program's so-called 100-day rule, which requires students to attend public school for 100 consecutive days before they can receive the funds.

"Truthfully, I just think the bill was poorly drafted," Schwartz says, "so I'm not sure the legislature or even the governor really thought through the implications." 

Schwartz says a lot of kinks could be ironed out if Governor Brian Sandoval decides to hold a special session on this issue. There are rumors that Sandoval could call lawmakers into a special special any day now to discuss tax incentives for electric car company Faraday, and Schwartz says revising the ESA law could be added to that agenda. 

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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