LAS VEGAS, NV (May 19, 2016) — Yesterday, in Las Vegas, Judge Eric Johnson dismissed Duncan v. Schwartz, one of the two lawsuits challenging the ESA voucher law in Nevada. The court found that the complaint filed in Duncan by the ACLU of Nevada failed to make a claim for relief, primarily under Section 10 of the Nevada Constitution prohibiting the use of public funds for religious purposes.The outcome in the ACLU case has no impact on a separate lawsuit brought by public school parents challenging the voucher law – Lopez v. Schwartz. In Lopez, Judge James Wilson in Carson City agreed with the parent-plaintiffs that they were likely to succeed on their constitutional claim. Judge Wilson issued an injunction to halt the implementation of the ESA voucher program, which remains in effect. Judge Wilson ruled that Section 6 of the Nevada Constitution prohibits the diversion of funding to operate the public schools to pay for private school tuition and other private education expenses. Section 6 – the Education First Amendment — requires the Legislature to first fund public education in the state’s biennium budget, and not use those funds for other purposes, such as ESA vouchers.
Judge Wilson also found that ESA vouchers will cause “irreparable harm” by diverting and diminishing l funding earmarked for the education of the 460,000 children attending Nevada’s public schools.
The Nevada Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what our state Constitution means. The parties in Lopez v. Schwartz have submitted briefs to the Nevada Supreme Court, and now await the Court’s further consideration of the appeal.
Educate Nevada Now (ENN), powered by The Rogers Foundation, stands fully behind these parents’ efforts to protect Nevada’s public schools, because a healthy public school system is essential for the future of all Nevadans.