Jim Hartman: Nevada teachers union’s wild pitch

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

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The Nevada State Education Association, the state’s teachers union, is spending its financial resources on suing the state of Nevada challenging the deal with the Oakland Athletics to build a new baseball stadium in Las Vegas.

The union argues the law (SB1) passed to support building the new stadium violates the Nevada Constitution and will “decrease money allocated to public school employees and students” if the court does not block the law from taking effect.

The lawsuit marks the teachers’ union second swing at blocking any public financing of a stadium for the A’s relocation to Las Vegas.

The union previously struck out when District Court Judge James Russell rejected the language of a ballot referendum petition financed by the teachers union that would have repealed any public funding for the Las Vegas stadium. The language was found “legally deficient” and “confusing.”

Labor leaders representing other unions cried foul, including the Nevada AFL-CIO , the Laborers and Culinary Unions. They successfully filed the legal challenge.

The teachers union is appealing.

The A’s announced an agreement last May 15 to build a ballpark on the Tropicana hotel site along the Las Vegas Strip, obtained $380 million in Nevada government financing June 15, and received approval to move from Major League Baseball in November.

The A’s expect to play in the stadium when the 2028 season begins.

SB1 provides for construction of a $1.5 billion 30,000 seat stadium. The bill caps public funding for the stadium at $380 million and does not raise taxes. More than $1.1 billion would be privately financed by the A’s.

Proponents of the deal emphasize funding will be 75% from the A’s, with a 25% public contribution and no tax increase.

Public funding is limited to $380 million coming from $120 million in bonds issued by Clark County, combined with revenue from a special tax district around the stadium and transferable tax credits worth $180 million. The A’s will pay back $120 million of that over the life of the agreement.

Las Vegas has newfound sports success with NFL, NHL and WNBA teams that were nonexistent or based elsewhere eight years ago.

Major League Baseball should be part of it.

With Formula 1 Grand Prix racing and the tremendously successful Feb. 11 Super Bowl at futuristic 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas claims to be the sports and entertainment capital of the world.

In 2016, Nevada’s Legislature approved $750 million in public funding from hotel room taxes for $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders and UNLV.

The wisdom of that investment is reflected by the fact that Allegiant is the top grossing stadium in the world among stadiums hosting concerts. It produced an economic boon.

The Nevada teachers union claim that the baseball stadium public investment is going to defund public schools is absurd.

Last June, Nevada’s Legislature passed an $11.6 billion, two-year budget that provided a massive $2.6 billion increase in education spending.

But, any spending for school choice programs was adamantly opposed by the Nevada State Education Association, including balking at funding Nevada’s existing “Opportunity Scholarships” benefiting lower income families.

The Nevada State Education Association is responsible for the catastrophic learning loss wrought by the union’s push to close schools in March 2020 and refusal to re-open Clark County schools for in-person learning for 15 months.

The effects of the school closures have been devastating: High school graduation rates are lower than pre-pandemic; more than a third of Nevada students are now chronically absent; and, reading and math proficiency scores dropped significantly.

By wasting precious resources on a frivolous lawsuit, the Nevada State Education Association demonstrates no concern over the well-being of public school students.

If they did, they would dedicate resources to the learning loss they created.

Their lawsuit is a wild pitch.

E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.


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