Despite all the success in expanding school choice in the states this year, teacher unions were able to nearly kill Nevada’s modest Opportunity Scholarship program that funds some 1,400 low-income kids going to private schools. Lombardo, the new GOP Governor, has proposed expanding the program from $7 million to $50 million, but Democrats — who have a nearly two-thirds majority in the legislature — did the opposite. They killed the small experimental program although The Gov did win an expansion of public charter schools.
But Lombardo, a former two-term sheriff of Las Vegas, refused to leave any scholarship kids behind. Last week, he redirected $3.2 million in unspent federal COVID-19 aid dollars to fund the scholarships.
“No Nevada student deserves to lose their Opportunity Scholarship,” he vowed.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager is furious at the move, calling the scholarships “handouts to more wealthy students to go to unaccountable private schools,” a preposterous line given that the scholarships only go to low-income families.
Governor Lombardo not only promises another school choice battle next year but to make it a key issue in the 2024 elections in which a few GOP gains could give the governor the leverage to expand the program.
We’re behind you Governor, 100%.