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Nevada high court to hear arguments July 29 in school choice challenges

CARSON CITY — Nevada Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments for two separate challenges to the state’s education savings accounts on the same day next month in Las Vegas.

Chief Justice Ron Parraguirre, in an order filed late Friday, set arguments in an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada for 11:30 a.m. July 29. The court earlier scheduled arguments for 10 a.m. that day to consider the state’s appeal of an injunction issued by a Carson City judge blocking the program from going forward.

The law passed by the Republican-controlled 2015 Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval allows parents to set up education savings accounts to receive a portion of state per-pupil funding and use the money, about $5,100 annually, to send their children to private school or pay for other educational options.

The program, administered by the state treasurer’s office, has received more than 6,000 applications.

A group of parents sued in Carson City, arguing it will illegally divert money from public schools. A Carson City judge in January agreed and issued an injunction.

The ACLU challenged the law on separate grounds, claiming it violates a constitutional prohibition against using money for sectarian purposes. A Clark County judge last month rejected those arguments and upheld the law.

Viewed as the most sweeping school choice initiative in the nation, the Nevada law is being watched closely by states and groups around the country.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Find @SandraChereb on Twitter.

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