Parents opposed to vouchers program urge court to maintain injunction
Parents suing to block the school vouchers program filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Friday urging the court to keep the injunction preventing issuance of voucher checks in place. The so-called Educational Savings Account program created by Senate Bill 302 allows the state treasurer to pay parents the state per pupil funding and let them use it to pay private school tuition for their children. Those parents would get a bit more than $5,100 a year for each child removed from public school.
There are two different lawsuits in Nevada’s courts challenging the program as an unconstitutional violation of provisions in the Nevada constitution barring private or religious groups from receiving public funds. That section states, “general funds appropriated to fund the operation of the public schools must only be used to fund the operation of the public schools.”
Most of those private schools are operated by religious organizations.
Carson District Judge James Wilson issued an injunction preventing the release of those funds until the program’s constitutionality is resolved, agreeing with opponents of the program releasing up to $20 million in the first year alone would irreparably harm the public school budgets if the program is ruled unconstitutional.
The attorney general’s office, on behalf of the treasurer, has asked for an expedited ruling on the injunction.
To date, the high court has not acted on that petition, leading some legal observers to speculate the justices may take the petition as an opportunity to rule on the merits of the case. That door was opened by Wilson’s order justifying the preliminary injunction: “Plaintiff parents have met their burden of clearly proving that there is no set of circumstances under which the statute would be valid and, therefore, Plaintiff Parents have shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits,” of the lawsuit.