Politics & Policy

More Heat on Reid’s Teacher Claim

Looks like the Nevada GOP has found a rallying point this week. Former Nevada governor and state Republican Committeeman Bob List yesterday called on Senator Harry Reid to stop running that television ad claiming to have saved a school teacher’s job with federal stimulus funds. This after the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday published a story about the ad, saying the teacher in question did not have her job saved by the stimulus funding because the school she worked for did not receive any recovery money.

The story prompted a strong response from Reid campaign spokesman Jon Summers, who criticized the Review-Journal story for being “erroneous and reckless” and said the claim that the school didn’t get any recovery funds “fundamentally misunderstands the nature of disbursement of the stimulus dollars and the way educators’ jobs were saved.”

Summers (correctly) said the stimulus funds were distributed by district, and the Clark County School District, where the teacher who narrated the ad was employed, received funds that saved about 1,400 jobs.

State assemblyman Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, weighed in on the dispute as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and former president of the Nevada State PTA.

What is missing from this discussion is this: If we hadn’t received the federal stimulus funds we had three choices left, which was fire 3,500 teachers, raise taxes, or a combination of the two. It really is that simple. The funds Nevada received avoided a huge layoff, or an equally huge tax increase. Whether Bridget Zick would have been one of the 3,500 would not have mattered to the parents whose children were no longer being taught by 3,499 other teachers.

List, the RNC committeeman, said Reid should focus on Nevada’s record-setting unemployment rate. And then he added this zinger about the majority leader: “This guy would take credit for the fact that Hoover Dam hasn’t washed out if he thought he could get away with it.”

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