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Nevada has joined four other states – Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee - in implementing a unique but controversial school choice program.
In May, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill into law that creates an Education Savings Account program in Nevada. The ESA program deposits the money, for example, the Clark County School District would have spent on the child’s education into a restricted use accounts for the parents to use on educational services and materials.
Unlike vouchers, which make public dollars available for private school tuition, EPAs can be used for private schools or distance learning, tutoring, computer software, or educational therapies. Any money left over after graduation can be put toward college.
In Nevada, this will give parents more than $5,000 a year to work with. What makes Nevada’s program different is the accounts are available to all of the state’s 385,000 public school students.
Most children will receive 90 percent of the state’s education contribution, or about $5,100. But children with disabilities or in low-income families will receive the full per-pupil amounts, roughly $5,700.
Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy, Heritage Foundation.
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