Nevada governor wants no qualifiers for Education Savings Account recipients

CARSON CITY — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday he agrees with Sen. Scott Hammond and will not propose any kind of income or means test for the Education Savings Account program he is seeking to fund this session.

Sandoval and Hammond, R-Las Vegas, have separate bills being drafted to make some changes to the controversial ESA program. No bill has been introduced, but Hammond said his measure should be introduced by next week.

“We’ve been working very closely with Sen. Hammond … with regards to ESAs,” Sandoval said. “I fully support Sen. Hammond’s bill.”

Sandoval has proposed putting $60 million into his budget to fund the program, which would provide about $5,200 to parents to send their children to private schools including religious schools.

There has been some talk about an income limit since the funding would not meet the needs of the more than 8,000 parents who have applied for the program. ESAs were approved by Republicans in 2015 but Democrats now control the Legislature, putting the funding in doubt.

Hammond has said the program should be available to all parents.

Supporters say school choice should be an option for parents. Critics call it a voucher plan and that state tax dollars should be put into public education instead.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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