TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On May 18, Judge Eric Johnson denied the state's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Nevada's popular Education Savings Account program (Duncan v. State of Nevada). The program, enacted by Gov. Brian Sandoval and the state legislature last year, has seen tremendous public support – with more than 5,000 parents signing up to participate before the program has been launched. Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), an advocacy organization promoting bold school choice reforms, made the following statement:

"Judge Eric Johnson made the right ruling in upholding Nevada's Education Savings Account program. We applaud Judge Johnson for granting the state's motion to dismiss, which helps clear the way for more than 5,000 families to get on with the business of seeking the best educational options for their children. We applaud Gov. Brian Sandoval, Senator Scott Hammond and State Treasurer Dan Schwartz for championing this program. We also congratulate Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and his legal team for prevailing in the case.

"Ultimately, this is a victory for children and a defeat for those who would meddle in the private decisions of families. ACLU's actions undermine the individual rights and liberties of parents who are seeking nothing more than the best possible future for their children.

"We call on the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to respect Nevada's parents and taxpayers by halting this frivolous litigation."

ExcelinEd looks forward to a similar positive ruling in a second lawsuit, Lopez v Schwartz. Contrary to the argument presented in this second lawsuit, ExcelinEd believes these funds are the student's – not the school's – and giving a student the ability to escape an underperforming and overcrowded school is the definition of providing opportunities for students. ExcelinEd remains dedicated to advocating for Nevada families and seeing the ESA program implemented.

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Background on Education Savings Accounts:

  • Education Savings Accounts (also commonly referred to as Education Scholarship Accounts or ESAs) are an innovative way to bring customization to the education system.
  • ESAs utilize accounts created by parents and funded and monitored by the state, which allow parents to direct their child's funding to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice - including tuition and fees, curriculum materials, tutoring, online learning, dual enrollment, and licensed services such as therapy for students with disabilities.
  • The Nevada proposal would give most students 90 percent of their state and local education funds. Students with special needs and those with a family income of 185 percent or less of the federal poverty level would receive 100 percent of their funding.
  • Parents are able to save unused funds for higher education expenses - creating an incentive for parents to judge all education service expenses not only on quality but also on cost.
  • ESAs create a personal approach to education, where the ultimate goal is maximizing each child's natural learning abilities.
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Source:Foundation for Excellencein Education