Don’t let 2019 Legislature kill Opportunity Scholarships:

Randi Thompson

The 2015 Nevada Legislature developed a great program that allows businesses to help underprivileged students get a better education. Sadly, like any program that takes money out of government’s hands, the program faces the threat of revocation in the 2019 Legislature, despite numerous reports that the program is doing a great job.

The Legislature established the Opportunity Scholarship program in 2015, which enables students to attend private schools using scholarships financed with Modified Business Tax credits. All businesses with taxable wages greater than $50,000 incur this tax liability. A business can donate funds to a state-approved scholarship fund, and get a dollar-for-dollar credit for the donation against their Modified Business Tax liability.

Currently about 2,000 students are receiving scholarhips across the state. To be eligible, students must live in a household whose income falls below 300 percent of the federal poverty line. Thus, for even the “wealthiest” students who are eligible to apply for scholarships, their total household income (for a family of four) cannot be greater than $73,800. That income cutoff guarantees that only students from lower- and middle-income households can receive Opportunity Scholarships.

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