Parents Seek Clarity On Education Savings Program

Aug 21, 2015

Treasury officials listen to parents talk about the Education Savings Program during public comment.
Credit Julia Ritchey

  Nevada Treasury officials heard from a crowd of frustrated and confused private school parents during a hearing Friday on the state's new Education Savings Account program. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there.

More than three dozen parents spoke during public comment to air grievances about a key provision of the new program known as the 100-day rule.

Again and again, their concerns sounded like this:

"I implore you once again to examine legislative intent with regard to the 100 days," said parent Bri Thorson.

That rule, written into the legislation at the end of last school year, requires a student to be enrolled in a public or charter school for at least 100 days to qualify for the roughly $5,000 subsidy to attend a private school.

Treasury Spokesman Grant Hewitt says, unfortunately, the rule is law and his department is charged with implementing it, not changing it.

"While I encourage the public comment ... I just want to level set that this is a specific topic that is out of the direct control of Treasurer Schwartz," he says.

A few private school parents say they've already switched their children back to public school to qualify for the funds...but they're worried there won't be enough space in private schools when the subsidies finally kick in next spring.

The state has received more than 2,200 applications for the program and is getting about 75 to 100 new applications each day.