BRIEF: School Choice in the States July 2016
LEGISLATION AND LITIGATION
Arkansas – Brittany Corona @BrittanyLCorona
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the state’s 2016–17 budget in June, which included funding for the Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities, a statewide school voucher program for public school students with special needs and active-duty military families. The Reform Alliance is continuing its work with the Arkansas Department of Education to collect applications for up to 100 Arkansas students by the fall. Families may apply here.
South Dakota – Brittany Corona @BrittanyLCorona
South Dakota’s legislature enacted the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program in 2016, and the program will launch this fall. This tax-credit scholarship program is currently being implemented through a new scholarship granting organization called South Dakota Partners in Education.
Nevada – Michael Chartier @mchart1
On July 29, the Nevada Supreme Court heard oral arguments, back to back, in the two cases (Lopez v Schwartz, Duncan v State) pending against Nevada’s innovative education savings account (ESA) program. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement presented the state’s case in support of ESAs in both cases, and Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice presented the case of parent intervenors in support of ESAs in the Duncan case. In Lopez, the main question is whether the state erred in choosing an appropriate funding mechanism for ESAs. In Duncan, the main question is whether the state erred in allowing parents to use ESA funds to pay tuition at religious schools. Prior to our organization’s name change, we filed three amicus briefs in the Lopez and Duncan cases as the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. A ruling is expected soon. Classes for K–12 students in Nevada’s largest public school district, Clark County, begin August 29. Learn more about both cases in “Nevada ESA Litigation: What You Need to Know.”
New Hampshire – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner
The Presiding Justice of the Superior Court in Sullivan County, New Hampshire ruled against the Town of Croydon in Department of Education v Croydon School Board, et.al on July 29. The Town of Croydon, a small town of about 700 people, was sued by the state department of education for tuitioning 4 students to a local Montessori school and 1 student to a private non-sectarian high school for one year (where the children excelled) instead of the chronically “low-performing” neighboring public school (where the children were suffering and failing to thrive). An appeal is expected.
IN OTHER NEWS
-The nation celebrated the 10 and final Friedman Legacy Day, where we remembered the indelible mark Milton Friedman and his wife Rose D. Friedman left on our country and society. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice also announced its new name, mission and strategic plan. Welcome to EdChoice. Get the skinny on what’s next for us here.
-EdChoice Vice President of Programs Leslie Hiner worked with EdChoice legal advisers in Indiana and Nevada and filed an amicus brief with the Nevada Supreme Court in support of Nevada’s ESA. She also spoke at a gathering of Family Policy Alliance state allies in Tucson, traveled to Reno, Nevada for interviews regarding Nevada’s education savings account, attended a rally in Las Vegas in support of Nevada’s ESA and attended oral arguments at Nevada’s Supreme Court for both lawsuits currently pending challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s ESA.
-EdChoice Director of State Policy Brittany Corona presented on school choice education reform at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado on July 2. Corona also participated on a panel about education policy at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 16.