(Chuck Muth) – Let’s start with the bottom line…
Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo proposed increasing the funding for Opportunity Scholarships in the recently concluded session of the Nevada Legislature.
Democrat Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannibizzaro and Democrat Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager – along with every other Democrat legislator – CUT funding for Opportunity Scholarships.
“The GOP Assembly Caucus tried so hard to expand Opportunity Scholarships,” notes Republican Assemblywoman Danielle Gallant, “but we were met with every roadblock possible by the Democrats.”
Again: Lombardo and Republicans supports school choice; Democrats oppose it.
So what exactly are Opportunity Scholarships?
It’s a pool of money that children of low-income families – the average annual income is under $60,000 – can use to attend the private school of their choice instead of the public school dictated by the government based on their zip code.
More than half of the 1,400 students currently receiving Opportunity Scholarship are black, Hispanic, or mixed-race children.
“Generally speaking, these families are wanting to escape public schools because of things like violence, bullying, overcrowding, or low expectations for their children,” school choice champion Valeria Gurr told KTNV News.
The program is funded by voluntary donations from private companies that get a tax credit on their Modified Business Tax – a penalty assessed against businesses for hiring employees. But that’s another story for another day.
The maximum amount of tax credits that can be earned by donating to the Opportunity Scholarship Fund was capped last year by former Gov. Steve Sisolak and the Democrat majority in the Legislature at $11.4 million.
Gov. Lombardo proposed increasing the cap to $25 million this year.
Instead, Democrats cut it to around $6.6 million – which has resulted in hundreds of Nevada children losing their scholarships and being forced out of the school of their choice and back into a failing public school.
“We now have more than 400 children who will be devastated beyond their wildest dreams,” said Michele Morgon, who runs Silver State Scholarships, one of the state’s non-profit organizations that raises money for Opportunity Scholarships. “They won’t be able to go to a private school unless we get more funding.”
“We currently fund more than 75 students,” Student Choice Fund of Nevada said in a statement this week. “We anticipate a massive reduction – if not cessation – in both scholarship dollars awarded and the number of students we will be able to service.”
“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Gurr. “Sending back another 600 kids to a broken public system is not part of the solution.”
“This is devastating for these 600 families,” added Erin Phillips of Power2Parent. “We will not stop until we restore funding for these kids.”
“Hundreds of children from low-income families across our state have been deprived of educational opportunities because of the partisan actions of these feckless politicians,” notes John Burke of Better Nevada PAC.
“Governor Lombardo tried to expand funding for opportunity scholarships,” Burke continued, “but instead of helping these students, Democrats in the legislature funded new offices and new staff for themselves.”
Democrats to low-income, minority children: Drop dead.
Their argument against school choice scholarships is that “public dollars belong in public schools.” But that’s as stupid as it is factually wrong.
As Corey DeAngelis, a national school choice champion, points out, public dollars are already used for lots of private programs and institutions, including Pell Grants, the GI Bill, Pre-K, Head Start, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Medicare, and Section 8 housing.
These racist “George Wallace” Democrats are no longer standing in public schoolhouse doors refusing to let little dark-skinned children in. They’re now standing in public schoolhouse doors refusing to let little dark-skinned children OUT.
These kids are prisoners. Hostages. Human collateral in a political war between parents and the teachers unions that pull the strings of legislative Democrats.
Gov. Lombardo is trying to find some work-arounds and other money to help these kids. But the next school year starts in just a couple of weeks. Things don’t look good.
Meanwhile, a pair of supposed conservatives – Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks and Nevada Republican National Committeewoman Sigal Chattah – continue to blame Lombardo.
Not because it’s Lombardo’s fault. They just don’t like him. Both have personal grudges against the governor. But all they’re doing is serving as “useful idiots” for the Dems by helping them shift blame.
Our kids deserve better. Remember in November.
7 Worst Habits of Highly Unelectable People
- Picking the wrong race
- Picking the wrong district
- Picking the wrong issues
- Picking the wrong time
- Picking the wrong consultants
- Picking unnecessary fights with the media
- Picking door-knocking over fundraising
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Support for school choice has soared across all demographics, including race and political affiliations, since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent polling. The poll, released Tuesday by RealClear Opinion Research, shows that 71% of registered voters now back school choice, which the data aggregator defines as giving ‘parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs.’” – ABCNews4, 7/17/23
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.