Nevada Governor Signs Nation’s Most Inclusive ESA Program into Law

Published June 2, 2015

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the nation’s first nearly universal education savings account (ESA) program into law today.

On May 29, the Nevada State Assembly voted to create the most inclusive ESA program for K-12 students in the country. Since Sandoval signed Senate Bill 302 into law parents will now be able to opt their children into the ESA program and use funding for a variety of approved educational options, including private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks and therapies. Most students would receive 90 percent of the per-pupil funding allotted to students statewide, which is approximately $5,000. Low-income and special need students opted in would receive 100 percent of the state’s per-pupil funding. To be eligible for the ESA program, children would have to attend public school, including charter schools, for at least 100 days before using funding granted through the ESA program.

This is the fifth ESA program in the country, but is by far the most inclusive ESA law to date. Other ESA programs aim to help low-income families and/or special needs students while the Nevada law allows any parent to opt their child into the ESA program (as long as the child has attended a public school for 100 consecutive days.)

“Nevada is leading the way in creating innovative programs and approaches to educating its students,” said Matt Frendewey, national communications director for the American Federation for Children. “We applaud Gov. Sandoval and the Nevada legislature for their commitment to students and providing each and every one of them with a quality education.”

Heather Kays ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute and is managing editor of School Reform News.

Image by Gage Skidmore.