Carson City—Late Friday the Nevada Legislature gave final approval to SB 302, a bill that would create “education savings accounts” for all k-12 students. SB 302 is sponsored by Sen. Scott Hammond. Governor Sandoval will have five days to sign or veto the bill.
These education savings accounts would give students a portion of their share of state education funding that could be spent to customize their educations. Funds can be used on private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring, distance education tuition, nationally norm referenced test fees, special education services, transportation expenses (up to $750), and online curriculum. Funds can even be saved from year to year so that when a student graduates from high school, they can use their funds for college tuition.
All Nevada public school students will be eligible for the accounts, which will be worth approximately $5,000 per school year. Students with special needs and students from low-income families will receive 100 percent of their share of state funding; all other students will receive 90 percent of their share of funding.
“Every child deserves an education that meets his or her needs. And parents need to be empowered to choose what’s best for their children. With an Education Savings Account, parents can have a flexible approach to their child’s learning. And that will give every child the chance to reach his or her full potential,” said Jonathan Butcher, the education policy director at the Goldwater Institute, the organization that developed the idea for the K-12 education savings account. “This is what the future of education should look like for students all over the U.S.”
Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee have all passed legislation that creates similar accounts. Arizona and Florida’s laws are in place today and thousands of families are using the accounts to customize their child’s learning environment. Mississippi and Tennessee passed their education savings accounts laws this year.
The Nevada Public Research Institute, the Friedman Foundation, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education all worked with lawmakers to craft this bill.
“Nevada lawmakers are capitalizing on the success of education savings accounts in Arizona and Florida in order to bring hope to families across their state. Surveys of families using education savings accounts in Arizona find high levels of satisfaction with the program,” said Butcher. “Parents want quality educational choices for their children, and we have seen first-hand how excited they are to use education savings accounts to give their children the very best education possible.”