Both sides of school choice debate energized as state supreme court justices grill attorneys _ las vegas review-journal

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Defenders and opponents of a school choice law passed by the 2015 Nevada Legislature drew equal optimism from the pointed questions asked Friday during two state Supreme Court hearings over the controversial measure’s constitutionality.

The seven justices carefully avoided offering a clear indication of how they eventually will rule. Electricity storage cost per kwh But each took their turn grilling attorneys on whether the law illegally diverts money from funds deemed sufficient by the Nevada Legislature to fund public schools, or if it is in conflict with a constitutional prohibition against taxpayer dollars being used for sectarian purposes.

“We feel very confident that the justices are going to uphold the program after they’ve considered all the issues,” said Tim Keller, an attorney representing parents who favor Senate Bill 302.

Widely considered the most expansive school choice law in the country, SB302 authorizes the creation of education savings accounts for families to tap about $5,100 in public funds to pay for private school tuition.

Arguing on behalf of the state was Paul Clement, a former U.S. 4 gases in the atmosphere solicitor general whose law firm banked nearly half a million dollars helping Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office defend SB302.

Justices doing a good job of playing devil’s advocate in grilling both sides in #ESA arguments. Gas near me app #RJnow— Sandra Chereb (@SandraChereb) July 29, 2016

That issue — which opponents to SB302 consider much more than a technicality — centers on constitutional requirement that requires lawmakers fund public education before appropriating money for any other priority in the state budget.

Clement told the justices that when the 2015 Legislature approved a school funding bill, lawmakers assumed it included the price tag of SB302. Electricity 2pm Justices, however, sounded perplexed that the legislative record offered no evidence of that consideration.

But Tamerlin Godley, arguing on behalf of parents who contend SB302 will drain money from an underfunded K-12 system and thus harm educational quality, said the state should have created a separate revenue stream for the school choice program.

“That very first appropriation (in the 2015 Legislature) has to be for the operation of the public schools and only for the operation of the public schools,” she said.

“There’s a lot of things during the session that you can’t contemplate: What you should have said during a committee hearing to establish intent,” Hammond said.

In January, a Carson City judge issued an injunction against Hammond’s bill, finding it violates constitutional requirements that the Legislature maintain a uniform system of common schools. Z gas tecate Judge James Wilson also said it illegally diverts money from an education account mandated to go exclusively to public education.

But supporters of the bill argue that the constitution allows state support for other educational programs besides public schools and that the law gives parents the power to decide how best to educate their children.

The justices on Friday also heard an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union of a ruling by a Clark County judge who held SB302 does not violate a constitutional prohibition against use public money for sectarian purposes.

District Judge Eric Johnson in May ruled the program was “neutral with respect to religion” because parents — not the state — decide how they will use the funding. Gas leak explosion Many private schools in Nevada are run by religious organizations.

“Do not look at this and say, ‘You know, Nevada is behind other states in church attendance, so we’re going to come up with a clever scheme to get people to go to church,’” he added, prompting laughter from the audience and smirks from some justices.

Regardless, Richard Katskee, a lawyer with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, argued money that goes through an education savings account remains under state control and therefore the law is illegal.

Some justices noted that public money often supports nonprofit organizations, hospitals and other community services that have religious roots.

Chief Justice Ron Parraguirre added public employees receive health savings accounts that they can spend on various medical services without regard to sectarian leanings.

“If the state gave every family in the state of Nevada $5,600 and said, ‘Spend this however you want,’ that would of course be perfectly fine,” Katskee said after the hearing.

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. K electric bill payment online Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton. Electricity bill calculator Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Electricity in costa rica voltage Find @SandraChereb on Twitter. Electricity facts Parents, educators, state… Grade 9 electricity formulas Hundreds rally for, against…