Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt issued the following statement today after Judge James Wilson granted a motion for preliminary injunction of the Education Savings Account (ESA) program:
“Although a preliminary injunction was granted this afternoon, our Office is pleased that the court ruled in Nevada’s favor on two of the three claims asserted against the law—one of which has been made in the related Las Vegas case,” said Laxalt. “We are reviewing the order with respect to the third claim and considering our legal options to ensure that Nevada’s parents receive the educational funds they are entitled to.”
The ESA, or school choice, law is being challenged for its constitutionality.
State Treasurer Dan Schwartz expressed disappointment in the ruling:
“We are obviously disappointed with Judge Wilson’s opinion preventing the State Treasurer from implementing the ESA program,” he said. “Thousands of students and their distressed parents may see their plans upended. Our office is currently discussing options with the Attorney General, so that we may honor the Nevada Constitution’s command and the Legislature’s intention to improve our children’s education.
“We expect to update Nevada families as soon as more information becomes available.”
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Governor Brian Sandoval also expressed regret at the judge’s decision:
“This order will prevent the Office of the Treasurer from carrying out the program until further court deliberations can take place. I firmly believe the best approach to fixing Nevada’s struggling education system must include providing the resources necessary for our public schools to improve as well as robust options for school choice. I also respect the legal process and appreciate the promptness of Judge Wilson’s decision.
“This ruling makes clear what I have believed all along: The best avenue is to obtain an expedited and final ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court. Thousands of parents across Nevada are waiting for an answer.”
The law was passed by the legislature last year. It gives parents the option to choose schools, including private schools — many of which are religious — and provides per-pupil funding of $5,100 each school year.
The educational savings account may be used for private schooling, tutoring, test taking, textbooks or online learning, Laxalt said.
Funding was expected to start in February of this year but was uncertain due to the litigation. The school choice law is being challenged by a group of parents and the ACLU in the two different lawsuits.
EDITS: The article’s title was changed to better reflect the accuracy of the story, and comments from officials have been added as they have been issued.