LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Support for school choice took on a Valentine’s Day theme Monday in Carson City when more than 500 handmade cards were delivered to lawmakers.

“Be a Sweetheart, Support School Choice” cards came along with political speeches by two Republican state senators as one of the biggest battles of the 2023 Nevada Legislature gears up. School choice comes with questions on how to fund education outside of the public school system.

Tweets on Monday showed groups of schoolchildren in the hallways at the Legislature, accompanied by Republican lawmakers as they distributed the cards. A rally followed by a news conference was scheduled today in Carson City.

“I am optimistic about the future of school choice in Nevada,” Minority Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert, a Reno Republican, said in a news release. “It’s time to reform our current education system, think outside the box and work together to find solutions for all of our students.”

Seevers Gansert is sponsoring legislation on school choice this session. “My bill expanding and stabilizing Opportunity Scholarships will change the lives for many underserved, vulnerable children, ensuring their educational needs are met and they are set up for success,” she said.

Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo supports school choice, but the Democratic-controlled Legislature will make changes difficult. Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas), in a response to Lombardo’s state of the state speech, emphasized that public money is for public schools.

It’s an argument Republicans are anticipating.

“Another way of ensuring equity in our education funding system is to provide public charter schools with facility funding like traditional public schools,” said Assistant Minority Leader Carrie Buck (R-Henderson).

“My bill attempts to level the playing field for our public charter schools,” Buck said. “Public charter schools are already performing at such a high level, imagine how much more our students will benefit when administrators can focus more on their students and teachers and less on fundraising for their buildings,” she said.