Nevada: Judge Upholds Voucher Plan, Even Though State Constitution Bans Funding Religious Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Here is an exercise in creative and highly political decision making from the bench.

District Judge Eric Johnson upheld the state’s voucher plan and ruled that it does not violate the state constitution.

In an order dismissing a lawsuit challenging the legislation, District Judge Eric Johnson upheld the constitutionality of Senate Bill 302 as a program “neutral with respect to religion” because parents — not state actors — decide whether they will use an education savings account, or ESA, to pay for tuition at private and religiously affiliated schools.

Johnson also ruled a provision in the Nevada Constitution that charges state lawmakers with encouraging education “by all suitable means” permits the ESA program in addition to the public school system.

SB 302, passed in the 2015 Nevada Legislature, offers parents about $5,100 in per-pupil state funds to spend on private school tuition, home school expenses and other educational services if…

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