Private school folks want fix to school choice bill added to special session agenda

UPDATED, 6:30 AM, 12/9/15:

Seems this campaign is being orchestrated by the "think tank" called NPRI, the Nevada Policy Research Institute. Seems Faith Lutheran's principal received the letter from Mountain View Principal Kris Schneider, who told me Tuesday night after I was tipped to NPRI's involvement:

"Yes, I did get the letter from NPRI and was in communication with Victor Jeunks (sp?) (she means Joecks, NPRI's veep) about it Monday afternoon via email.  I then contacted Matt Fischer (Principal at Faith Community) later that same evening to ask him if he'd like for me to forward him the letter, to which he replied in the affirmative.  He then copied me on the email he sent to his families."



I have been reporting that a special session for Faraday Future, the electric car company, is expected to be called this week and take place on Dec. 16, and the word has reached many who want to piggyback onto the agenda.

Of course the deal could fall through, but it looks extremely likely to be consummated, so the session would take place the day after the presidential debate in Las Vegas. (Premium subscribers to this site are aware of many of the details and negotiations and how other companies will benefit from some of the proposals. Don't forget: The Legislature passed a bill last session to facilitate infrastructure to Apex, where the hyperloop will go and Faraday is likely to be sited.)

Many have ideas for add-ons: Those who want a GOP primary instead of a caucus. Those who want to fix Reno municipal elections after a recent court decision. And, most of all, those frustrated by the new school choice law.

The governor, I'm told, has no interest in adding anything to a session that will not be as simple as the Tesla rubber stamp, with some GOP lawmakers fretting about voting for tax breaks right after tax increases and Democrats, as ever, seeking relevance and framing for 2016. He even said as much Tuesday to the RJ's Sean Whaley.

But one private school principal, Matt Fischer of Faith Lutheran, is trying to gin up a campaign, including using strategic pressure on the state Senate majority leader running for higher office. This went out today (I lightly edited it to take out contact info):


Dear Faith Lutheran Academy Parents,


As you may know, over the last six months there's been a huge public outcry over the 100-day rule in Education Savings Accounts and how unjust it is for current private school families. Right now, there is a one-time shot to fix this.


While Treasurer Schwartz has been sympathetic to those concerns, the only way to fix this issue before the 2017 legislative session is for Gov. Sandoval to call a special session and for lawmakers to find a way to pay for it.

It is being reported that Gov. Sandoval is going to call a special session next Wednesday, Dec. 16, to give tax breaks to a car company. He needs to hear from you and from every parent at our private schools that eliminating the 100-day requirement from ESAs must be on the agenda. His office number is..... It is imperative that you call this week! He needs to hear from thousands of fired up families to feel the pressure necessary to make this happen.


For Gov. Sandoval I'd say: "I'm calling to urge you to put eliminating the? 100-day requirement for Education Savings Accounts on the agenda of the upcoming special session."If they ask how to pay for it: "The Nevada Policy Research Institute has put forward a plan to use a transfer from the Highway Fund to cover the cost."  (The plan is available at

And the good news is that NPRI has identified how to pay for this without raising taxes or cutting wasteful General Fund spending which makes this politically possible.  In short, current private school students would get a $2,000 ESA for the 2016-17 school year, with the amount of the ESA growing to $3,000 in FY18, $3,500 in FY19, $4,500 in FY20, and then fully catching up in FY21.

It's not perfect, but it's much better than the status quo. It's a plan with a real shot politically.

After you call Gov. Sandoval, parents should also call the following Legislative leaders. If these leadership officials wanted, they could persuade Sandoval to consider expanding ESAs to current private-school parents by refusing to pass Sandoval's car company tax breaks. An avalanche of phone calls can make eliminating the 100-days happen.


For Roberson, Hambrick, and Anderson, I'd say: "I'm calling to urge you to make Gov. Sandoval put eliminating the 100-day for Education Savings ?Accounts on the agenda of the upcoming special session."If they say, "the Governor sets the agenda, not me" I'd reply: "You have the ability to make him put this on the agenda, by refusing to pass what ?he wants unless he calls a special session that includes ESAs. I hold you ?just as responsible as Gov. Sandoval."

á       Sen. Majority Leader Michael Roberson

Roberson is key. He's running for Congress in a district representing?Southern Clark County, so he's going to be asking for the primary vote of ?many of these parents. If enough pressure is brought, I think he could be worried that these parents will oppose him for not eliminating the 100 ?days. On the flip side, if he champions this reform, he could score a lot of points.


á       Assembly Speaker John Hambrick


á       Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson 


Again, time is of the essence. They need to hear from every parent at our private schools.

The special session is happening next week, and this will be the only chance to fix this for the foreseeable future.