Does Nevada's Education Savings Account Program Violate The State Constitution?
All week KUNR has been looking into the challenges of implementing the new Education Savings Account program for our series Nevada’s Gamble on School Choice. Some have questioned whether the program is unconstitutional because the funds can be used at private religious schools. The State Constitution says, “No public money of any kind…shall be used for sectarian purposes.” But some, including Kristopher Dahir the director of Excel Christian Academy in Sparks, say once parents are given an account, the money in it belongs to them similar to a tax refund.
“It’s your money. No one can come and tell you that you couldn’t donate that. You can spend it however you want. And that’s what they’ve done with this account. A parent doesn’t necessarily get this money, but it sits in an account where the treasurer will put it wherever the parent says because it’s their money, no different from a tax refund.”
To explore this argument further, Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli spoke to Erik Herzik chair of the political science department at UNR and professor of the Nevada Constitution.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada reports that it and two other organizations have filed a law suit last week on behalf of several parents, clergy and tax payers on the grounds that the ESA violates the Nevada Constitution. Stay tuned to KUNR for continued coverage on this story. And you can hear all the stories from our series Nevada’s Gamble on School Choice at kunr.org