NEVADA – Governor Joe Lombardo wants unallocated federal COVID-19 relief monies to restore Opportunity Scholarships for hundreds of private school students. The Nevada Legislature did not renew the scholarships, reducing them from $11.4 million to $6.6 million.
The governor’s initiative provides families with much-needed support days before the new school year. Parents who appreciate education but lack means are uncertain about the deadline.
Power2Parent President and Founder Erin Phillips applauded the governor’s plan to protect 600 scholarships. She encouraged him to persevere, stressing the value of these scholarships for low-income families.
SGOs sell tax credits to commercial firms in exchange for donations to the Opportunity Scholarships. Nevada Silver State Scholarships could not renew nearly 400 scholarships, leaving only 42 students this year.
Opponents say tax credits from businesses reduce public school funding. They also dispute whether the scholarships benefit low-income families, citing the 300% federal poverty line qualifying income barrier.
Proponents argue that the scholarships benefit low-income families because eligible income must be below 300% of the poverty limit. They say many affected families attend schools in low-income neighborhoods that already struggle to satisfy pupils’ requirements.
54% of 1,400 opportunity scholarship recipients last year were minorities, according to the Nevada Department of Education.
Opportunity Scholarships will be debated until the Interim Finance Committee’s early August deadline to approve Governor Lombardo’s plan.
Nevada Opportunity Scholarships are available at https://doe.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/nde.doe.nv.gov/content/Private_Schools/Reports/2022-2023_NevadaEducational_Choice_Scholarship_Report.pdf.
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