Today, The American Independent reported on Nevada Republican gubernatorial nominee Joe Lombardo’s “plan” to potentially cut $300 million from Nevada’s public schools. Lombardo would send that money — funded by taxpayers — to private and religious institutions, including those that can legally discriminate against children based off their sexual orientation, disability, or gender identity.
In 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court found that Education Savings Accounts, the mechanism through which Lombardo proposes these cuts, were unconstitutional.
Education activists have long sounded the alarm about the discriminatory aspect of ESAs and the harm they could do to already-challenged and underfunded public school systems — but as governor, Lombardo has said he would ignore their recommendations and cut funding despite the clear danger to Nevada’s kids, parents and teachers.
The American Independent: Nevada GOP governor nominee pushes plan that could take $300 million from public schools
By Emily Singer | September 28, 2022
Joe Lombardo, the Republican nominee for governor of Nevada, says he wants to create a school voucher program that estimates show could cut $300 million from public schools in the state. The program could divert state funding to private and parochial schools that have the right to discriminate against students and staff on the basis of gender identity or religion.
The campaign website of Lombardo, the sheriff of Clark County, of which Las Vegas is the seat, says: “To ensure every child has access to the best education possible, Joe will implement school choice initiatives that empower Nevada families. By expanding access to charter schools, providing more opportunity scholarships, and investing in Education Savings Accounts, Joe believes that we can make our education system work better for every student and every family.”
A program of education savings accounts was enacted by the Republican-controlled Nevada Legislature in 2015. According to an FAQ posted to the Nevada state treasurer’s website, “An ESA is an account established to provide state funds to pay for approved education expenses for qualified students. The program’s main purpose is to provide options for parents to freely choose how and where to educate their children with a grant from the state.”
The ESA program, however, was never funded or implemented. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the program was not constitutional because it had no funding mechanism and would unlawfully take funds intended for the public school system. In 2019, the Democratic-controlled Legislature repealed the program entirely.
Lombardo says he wants to revive an ESA program if he is successful in his race to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in November.
Education advocates say that ESAs will take money away from already underfunded public schools and send it to private and parochial schools that could reject students based on such factors as their sexuality, gender identity, or learning disabilities.
Read the full story here.
Published: Sep 28, 2022