Courtesy of AP
Published Thursday, June 29, 2023 | 1:54 p.m.
Updated 1 hour, 28 minutes ago
Nevada’s largest educators union is taking steps to formally fight the Nevada Legislature’s decision this month to devote $180 million in state funds to the construction of a baseball stadium should the Oakland Athletics relocate to Las Vegas.
The Nevada State Education Association has formed a political action committee called Schools Over Stadiums as the first step in “pursuing every possible path to stop the use of public funds to subsidize a billionaire’s stadium,” the organization said today when announcing the new committee. The billionaire is team owner John Fisher.
NSEA, as Schools Over Stadiums, said it could take the matter to voters through a referendum or initiative, or suing to block the public financing bill that Gov. Joe Lombardo signed on June 15.
“Nevada’s priorities are misguided, and public funds should not go to a California billionaire for a stadium,” said Dawn Etcheverry, a Washoe County music teacher and president of NSEA and Schools Over Stadiums, in a statement. “For years, Nevada educators have been issuing an SOS over the dire conditions in our schools. The goal of Schools Over Stadiums is to right this ship and keep the focus on Nevada’s true priorities – our kids, our parents, and our educators.”
The Legislature convened for a special session just to consider the stadium funding bill, Senate Bill 1. It offers the A’s a $380 million total public funding package to aid in the development of a $1.5 billion stadium just off the Strip. The stadium is tentatively scheduled to open in 2028. The Oakland baseball club’s relocation to Las Vegas is still awaiting approval from Major League Baseball.
The package includes $180 million in transferable tax credits and $120 million in bonds from Clark County.
NSEA has consistently been vocal in its opposition to the A’s stadium deal, juxtaposing the state investment in a private sports facility with Nevada’s chronically low funding for public schools and stubborn educator staffing vacancies. The Education Law Center ranks Nevada 47th for per-pupil funding, while the National Education Association ranks the state 46th. As of Thursday, Clark County School District alone had more than 1,300 teacher job openings posted.
“With next school year approaching, Clark County alone is facing thousands of educator vacancies,” said CCSD reading teacher and NEA of Southern Nevada President Vicki Kreidel. “Instead of hiring part-time stadium workers, let’s ensure each student has a qualified and full-time educator in the classroom. Instead of a stadium, let’s build classrooms for 30,000 students. Instead of funding billionaires, let’s fully fund public education.”
The Assembly passed SB1 on a 25-15 vote. The Senate approved it 13-8.