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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Nevada school choice program

(WYMT)
Published: May. 18, 2016 at 5:21 PM PDT
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A Las Vegas judge has dismissed one of two lawsuits filed against Nevada's sweeping new school choice program, although the program is still on hold for other concerns.

Judge Eric Johnson issued a ruling Wednesday that the Education Savings Account program doesn't violate the portion of the Nevada Constitution that bans using public funds for sectarian purposes.

The voucher-style program approved last year by state lawmakers allows parents to claim their child's per-pupil state education funds and use it toward private schooling.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed a suit against it in August.

A Carson City judge ruling on a separate lawsuit against the program put it on hold earlier this year. The hold is being appealed at the Nevada Supreme Court.

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Governor Brian Sandoval:

“Today's decision by Judge Johnson is a victory for thousands of Nevada families who are pursuing the opportunity to choose the best education path for their children. School choice was an important part of the legislative education reform package enacted in 2015. I hope that all pending litigation challenging these critical reforms will soon be resolved for the sake of our students who deserve every opportunity to succeed.”

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NV Attorney General Adam Laxalt:

“This is a huge and important step in getting certainty for the thousands of families waiting to participate in Nevada’s ESA program. The Court correctly dismissed these speculative and tenuous claims. The decision today clears the way for the Nevada Supreme Court to meaningfully address the remaining uncertainty caused by the injunction in the other case challenging Nevada’s ESA program. We are one giant step closer to helping thousands of Nevada families choose the best educational option for their children.”

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NV Treasurer Dan Schwartz:

“We are pleased with Judge Johnson’s well-considered decision to uphold the constitutionality of Nevada’s Education Savings Account program. While the program remains under an injunction issued in Lopez v. Schwartz, today’s ruling brings us one step closer to allowing Nevadan parents educational choice opportunities for the upcoming school year. We look forward to the Nevada Supreme Court’s final decision.”