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Making it up

Harry Reid is fond of telling his critics that while they’re entitled to their own opinions, they’re not entitled to their own set of facts.

Apparently, that standard doesn’t apply to the Senate majority leader’s re-election campaign staff. They’re still making it up as they go along.

In his zeal to buy the votes he needs to beat Republican challenger Sharron Angle, Sen. Reid pushed though legislation that sends $10 billion in borrowed money to school districts dealing with revenue shortfalls. Nevada’s share of that loot amounts to $83 million, with the Clark County School District set to get $54.2 million.

Santa Harry assured Nevadans that this money would spare teachers from layoffs and classrooms from further cuts.

“Fourteen-hundred teachers and school workers facing September layoffs,” one of Sen. Reid’s newest TV ads tells voters. “Then Harry Reid got emergency aid to keep them teaching.”

The ad is intended to highlight “the 1,400 education jobs that are no longer on the chopping block thanks to $83 million in emergency funding Sen. Reid delivered” to Nevada, Reid campaign spokeswoman Kelly Steele wrote in a news release last week, attacking GOP challenger Sharron Angle for being dismissive of the funding.

But Sen. Reid’s side of the story isn’t the slightest bit true.

In fact, no local schoolteachers were “on the chopping block” this September. Earlier this year, the school district’s bargaining units agreed to millions of dollars worth of contract concessions to spare educators from layoffs. Yes, some vacant teaching positions were set to be eliminated, but the district had to hire 430 new teachers for this year to make up for retirements and attrition. The only jobs “lost” were a handful of school-based administrative positions. Those workers were being returned to classrooms to teach at a reduced salary. No educator layoffs were planned.

Sen. Reid’s legislation, despite his promises, actually prohibits the money from being used to replace funds. It must be used to increase spending above current levels.

So the Clark County School District is going to spend the money, all right — on one-year contracts for up to 900 new teachers and support staff, while returning the dozens of administrators who stood to be demoted back to their higher-paying jobs.

“This federal money, while only a one-year reprieve, we hope will be a bridge to to connect us to better financial times,” Clark County Superintendent Walt Rulffes said Wednesday.

Sen. Reid didn’t save any teachers from unemployment. He used money borrowed from Red China and taxes that will be paid by our grandchildren to hire hundreds of new teachers that Clark County’s devastated economy can’t support.

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