Nevada Supreme Court rejects petition to delay vouchers case hearing

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order rejecting the petition seeking a delay in the hearing on the Educational Savings Accounts vouchers program.

A hearing was scheduled for oral arguments before the full court on July 29 but the plaintiffs led by the ACLU asked for a delay in both the hearing and the briefing schedule.

The lawsuit is one of two filed challenging the vouchers program. The ACLU appealed after a Las Vegas District Judge dismissed its lawsuit, ruling the program turning cash over to parents to pay for private school tuition constitutional.

The other lawsuit was filed in Carson City where District Judge James Wilson ruled the program unconstitutional.

Both cases will be argued on July 29.

Chief Justice Ron Parraguirre ruled plaintiffs in the southern Nevada case failed to show cause for their requested delay.

The appeal seeking to overturn Wilson’s ruling in the Carson City case will be heard at 10 a.m. The appeal by the ACLU seeking to overturn the Clark County ruling upholding the constitutionality of the vouchers program will be heard immediately after that at 11:30 a.m.

Both hearings will be held in the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas.

The vouchers program created by the Republican leadership in the 2015 Legislature allows parents to take about $5,000 a year in state per-pupil funding out of the state treasury and deposit it in an Educational Savings Account that can then be used to pay tuition at a private or religious school.

Wilson issued an injunction barring the treasurer’s office from issuing vouchers, agreeing with opponents once the voucher money is released, there would be no way to get it back if the program is ultimately ruled unconstitutional.

Opponents say the Nevada Constitution clearly prohibits using state education funding for anything except the public school system and further prohibits releasing public money to religious organizations. Most of the private schools are religious based.

Backers argue the money isn’t being turned over to private and religious schools directly but sent to those savings accounts where the parents can then turn it over to the schools to pay tuition.

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