Yesterday, a district judge in Nevada ruled that state’s “education savings accounts” (aka vouchers) to be unconstitutional. Here is an analysis of the opinion by some of the legal team for the parents who sued the state.
Here is the link. It contains a link to the decision itself.
COURT DECLARES NEVADA VOUCHER LAW VIOLATES STATE CONSTITUTION
PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS WIN INJUNCTION TO STOP IRREPARABLE HARM
January 11, 2016
Judge James Wilson of the First Judicial District Court of Nevada (Carson City) held in Lopez v. Schwartzthat the state’s school voucher law (SB 302) enacted last summer by the Legislature violates two provisions of the Nevada Constitution. Judge Wilson issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the State from implementing the law.
The case challenging the voucher law was filed by parents of Nevada public school children from across the state. They argued that the program would divert scarce funding from public schools, triggering cuts to essential programs and services for their children and all other children attending Nevada’s public schools.
The Court explained that the Nevada Constitution requires the Legislature to appropriate funds for the operation of the public schools, which “must only be used to fund the operation of the public schools.” [Nevada Constitution, Article 11, Sections 6.1 and 6.2.] However, the Court continued, under the voucher law, if implemented, “some amount of general funds appropriated to fund…the public schools will be diverted to fund” the vouchers for private school tuition and other uses.
Judge Wilson further found that the parents “have [proven] that SB 302 violates Article 11, Sections 6.1 and 6.2, and that irreparable harm will result if an injunction is not entered. Therefore an injunction will issue to enjoin Treasurer Schwartz,” who is charged with implementing the law, from doing so.
“This is a clear victory for the 460,000 children attending Nevada’s public schools,” said David G. Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and member of the legal team representing the plaintiffs. “We’re pleased that Judge Wilson found that the Legislature cannot take funding designated for the operation of the public schools and transfer that funding to private schools and other private education expenses.”
The Court will next schedule a trial on the merits.
The pro bono counsel representing the parents in their lawsuit include Education Law Center in Newark and Las Vegas; Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP based in Nevada; and, Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles.
The Attorney General is representing the State of Nevada and defending State Treasurer Dan Schwartz.
Also- this is from Educate Nevada Now
JUDGE WILSON RULES IN FAVOR OF NEVADA PARENTS
Grants Preliminary Injunction To Block
Unconstitutional Private School Voucher Law
LAS VEGAS, NV (Jan. 11, 2016) – Today, Judge James Wilson in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City issued an order halting implementation of Nevada’s unlimited voucher program. The ruling is a clear victory for the children attending public schools all across the state.
Educate Nevada Now (ENN), powered by The Rogers Foundation, stands fully behind these parents’ efforts to safeguard Nevada’s public schools.
Judge Wilson’s ruling grants a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of Senate Bill 302 (SB302), a private school voucher law that would have otherwise diverted funds from public schools beginning as early as February.
“Not only the plaintiffs won today,” said Sylvia Lazos, ENN’s Policy Director. “Judge Wilson’s ruling is a victory for all 460,000 public school children in Nevada, their parents, teachers, administrators and school board members. We are thrilled with the decision and look forward to continuing dialogue focused on improving our state’s education systems.”
Today’s decision upholds the important legal principle that the Nevada Constitution protects the educational rights of all children. It also affirms the Constitutional requirement that public school funding, once earmarked by the Legislature, can only be dedicated to supporting public education and nothing else.
The legal team representing Nevada parents in this case are working pro bono. The team consists of: Tamerlin J. Godley, Laura Mathe, Samuel Boyd and Thomas Clancy of Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP; Don Springmeyer, Justin Jones and Bradley Schrager of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP; and David Sciarra and Amanda Morgan of the nonprofit Education Law Center, a partner of ENN and The Rogers Foundation.
For more information, visit http://www.educatenevadanow.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Educate Nevada Now
Educate Nevada Now, powered by The Rogers Foundation, is a multi-year campaign aimed at securing school finance reform and improving education outcomes and opportunities for all of Nevada’s public school children. The campaign raises awareness about the need for school funding reform, engages parents, students, and community and statewide stakeholders in the effort, conducts critical research, proposes policies to address funding and resource deficiencies, and ensures the effective and efficient use of resources in schools and districts. A centerpiece of the Educate Nevada Now strategy is to break legislative gridlock and move the focus to the rights of children. For more information, visit http://www.educatenevadanow.com.
About The Rogers Foundation
The Rogers Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founded in 2013 by James E. and Beverly Rogers, The Rogers Foundation awards scholarships to individual students in Southern Nevada and grants to educational institutions, artists and organizations that support the arts in Southern Nevada. For more information, visit http://www.therogers.foundation.
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Jeff Wagner Agency