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Nevada Vouchers Violate the State Constitution

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Author: dianeravitch

The Nevada legislature recently passed one of the most sweeping voucher programs in the nation. Every child in the state is eligible for a grant of $5,000 so long as they previously attended a public school for at least 100 days.

 

Make no mistake, this is a voucher program. Most students will use these vouchers to attend religious schools, which has been the experience of other states.

 

And yet, the Constitution of the state of Nevada clearly states in Article 11:

 

Sec: 9.  Sectarian instruction prohibited in common schools and university.  No sectarian instruction shall be imparted or tolerated in any school or University that may be established under this Constitution.

Section Ten.  No public money to be used for sectarian purposes.  No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose.
[Added in 1880. Proposed and passed by the 1877 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1879 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1880 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1877, p. 221; Statutes of Nevada 1879, p. 149.]

 

The Nevada legislature clearly is violating the state Constitution by enacting a program that allows public money to be transferred to sectarian schools. The language could not be clearer. It is not ambiguous.

 

This voucher program in Nevada is not conservative; conservatives don’t ignore the explicit language of the Constitution. Conservatives don’t destroy traditional institutions that are integral to a democratic society.

 

The voucher promoters should be rebuked by public opinions, editorials, and the courts. They are violating the spirit and the letter of the Nevada Constitution.

 

 

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