Could the results in the upcoming election potentially signal the demise of the nation’s most aggressive school choice program before it ever gets off the ground? That now looms as a very real question.
Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday called a special legislative session next week to address the financing of a proposed new stadium in Las Vegas as well as an expansion of the region’s convention center. Notably, the governor decided against asking lawmakers to also consider funding the accounts that are the cornerstone of his ambitious plan to create more educational choice for Nevada families.
The choice program remains on hold in the wake of a Nevada Supreme Court decision issued last week. While the justices held that the plan passed constitutional muster, they ruled that lawmakers improperly allocated the money necessary to implement it.
By failing to include a fix to the choice program on the special session’s agenda, the governor rolls the dice. The choice bill cleared the Legislature in 2015 on a party-line vote, with no Democrat in support. Democrats stand a decent chance next month of regaining control of one or both houses in Carson City, which could complicate efforts to fund the educational savings accounts next year.
If Democrats regain the majority in the state Senate or Assembly, the fate of this legislation may hinge on the governor’s political gifts — or on voters making clear the risks to lawmakers who would deny educational opportunity to thousands of Nevada families.