How are public school parents harmed by payments to parents to not send their children to public schools?

Talk about splitting hairs.

District Judge James Wilson in Carson City on Monday issued an injunction blocking the implementation of the legislatively approved education savings accounts (ESAs), which were to be launched next month.

In doing so, the judge said the plaintiffs, who filed as a part of a group called Educate Nevada Now, “have carried their burden of proof that SB302 violates Article 11, Sections 6.1 and 6.2 (of the state Constitution) and that irreparable harm will result if an injunction is not entered.”

Those sections read:

   1.  In addition to other means provided for the support and maintenance of said university and common schools, the legislature shall provide for their support and maintenance by direct legislative appropriation from the general fund, upon the presentation of budgets in the manner required by law.

      2.  During a regular session of the Legislature, before any other appropriation is enacted to fund a portion of the state budget for the next ensuing biennium, the Legislature shall enact one or more appropriations to provide the money the Legislature deems to be sufficient, when combined with the local money reasonably available for this purpose, to fund the operation of the public schools in the State for kindergarten through grade 12 for the next ensuing biennium for the population reasonably estimated for that biennium.

The judge rejected two other arguments made by the plaintiffs but ruled that the word “appropriate” means “to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use in  exclusion of all others” and therefore using part of that appropriate for ESAs violates the state Constitution.

The chink in that argument is that the State Distributive School Account (DSA) is funded on a per pupil basis and if that pupil is no longer in a public school is that funding still required to go to public schools?

As the judge points out the Legislature passed Senate Bill 515, just days after passing the ESA bill, and that set funding at just more than$5,700 per pupil in the DSA. The ESA bill dictated that most parents who pull their children from public school would be given 90 percent of that amount to fund education by whatever means they choose — private school, tutoring, homeschooling. Poorer parents would get 100 percent.

So, the per pupil funding for public schools is not diminished by the savings accounts.

But apparently the judge took the view that the DSA fund is a lump sum that may not be diminished. In passing, Judge Wilson noted that NRS387.1233 calls for a school district’s funding to be based on the prior year’s enrollment if the district experiences an enrollment decline of 5 percent or more.

But the judge also later states that the courts “may not condemn legislation simply because the object or purpose is new (no matter how astonishing or revolutionary) so long as a constitutional limitation is not violated. …”

Is the appropriation of public school funds on a per pupil basis or a district basis?

And just how are parents of public school children harmed if their schools get 10 percent of the funding for pupils who are not in their public school? Additionally, public school keeps the local and federal funding. Seems more like a benefit than an irreparable harm.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt, whose office defended the ESAs before Judge Wilson, released a statement: “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. 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 Las Vegas newspaper quoted state Treasurer Dan Schwartz, whose office is designated to handle ESAs and who is named as the defendant in the case, as saying more than 4,100 accounts have been set up.

“Thousands of students and their distressed parents may see their plans upended,” Schwartz said.

The because the law requires students to enrolled in public school for 1oo days in order to qualify for an ESA, some parents have pulled their children from private schools and enrolled them in public schools. No irreparable harm there?

This should end up before the state Supreme Court. The sooner the better.

Mallard Fillmore cartoon today

ESA injunction


11 comments on “How are public school parents harmed by payments to parents to not send their children to public schools?

  1. Mike Coster says:

    It seems that the student that opt IN for private/home education options benefit (judging from participating parent comments), students that do not take this option may and should benefit from their schools receiving a higher level of per student funding that is “left behind” by that otehr student that opts out. Same for the public school that “loses” the student that goes with private/home schooling. The only losing party is the organized labor unions that experiences fewer members and reduced dues, and that has to address the resulting differences in performance comparisons between different education options. I didn’t think public education was about serving the interests of organized labor bosses.

  2. Steve says:

    I think federal money is fully based on the number of students in the school. If a student is removed from the roles that portion of federal money is lost.
    That happened when I was pulled out of grade school and sent to private school, the town kept harassing my parents, trying to get me back in their school. Until they moved to another town.

    My brother has had to file a lawsuit to get his son removed from public school. It’s costing him upwards of $20,000.00
    My nephew is autistic and they feel he has a better chance in a better program at a private school.

    In each case, resistance was caused by the loss of that federal money.

  3. nyp says:

    Very interesting article in the Washington Post today on the question of whether Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen:

  4. Barbara says:

    Here is a more accurate and more interesting article NYP:

    As it becomes clearer that Cruz and Trump are the leading candidates to secure the nomination, the Washington Cartel has decided they can probably live with Trump over Cruz. Cruz has already demonstrated that he will not compromise his principals and sell out the folks, whereas Trump is an unknown. The chances of Trump playing ball is greater than Cruz, so you can expect more of these attacks as the campaign progresses.

  5. nyp says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe that Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen, and thus eligible to be President. That’s because I do not think that we should not be bound by the views of the framers more than two centuries ago with respect to specific, narrowly-drawn legal issues. Therefore, I reject reliance on sources such as Blackstone, who wrote that “Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance, or as it is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it.” And I think we can disregard James Madison’s statement that “Birth . . . derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but . . . place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States.” Or
    Chancellor Kent’s explanation that ““[a]n alien is a person born out of the jurisdiction of the United States,” with the exception of
    “the children of public ministers abroad.”

    In short, because the Constitution is a living, evolving document, the archiac understanding of “natural born citizen” should be disregarded and Ted Cruz should be deemed eligible to be President.

  6. nyp says:

    BTW, I am tickled at the suggestion that Barak Obama, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are members of a “cartel.”

  7. nyp says:

    Sorry for the typo. I meant to say: “That’s because I do not think that we should be bound by the views of the framers more than two centuries ago with respect to specific, narrowly-drawn legal issues. “

  8. Patrick says:

    Whether some people believe we ought to be bound by what the original framers said or not is one thing, but it’s another when those that pretend at believing this, “suddenly” change their “beliefs” about the subject, to allow that which appealing to them. I call it hypocrisy.

    Especially since most anyone that thinks Cruz is eligible to be president, is almost ALWAYS the same sort that will tell you that we need to put the Constitution “back” in government.

  9. […] are parents of public school children harmed if their schools get 10 percent of the funding for pupils who are not in their public school […]

  10. […] are parents of public school children harmed if their schools get 10 percent of the funding for pupils who are not in their public school […]

  11. […] District Judge James Wilson of Carson City in his injunction blocking enactment of the ESAs declared that “appropriation” means “to set apart for or […]

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