By Mark Hernandez ’20
Las Vegas has been what I call home for the last 14 years. It is where I experienced my education and coming of age. Coming from Nevada, I am well aware of how bad the education system can be in Las Vegas because of the lack of funding from the state. I have nieces and nephews who are all in the same system, that is already not in their favor because they are half Salvadoran and half black. With the move of the Oakland Raiders, the education of students will continue to suffer for years to come.
The team was attracted to Las Vegas by the new $1.9 billion stadium that will be built, $750 million of which will come from state tax dollars. This public policy said to take public tax dollars, according to Business Insider, will cost $354 per resident. Tax payer money going towards this stadium will benefit private interests and business as opposed to benefiting the economy of the city.
Education in Nevada ranks at the bottom of the national list, just above New Mexico. Specifically the city of Las Vegas. Nevada, home to one of the largest school districts in the U.S., needs attentive improvements in its education system. Clark County recently had to close a public school for at-risk students because of lack of funding. This close placed those students at other schools that cannot provide enough educational support. There are children that are not getting the same options offered to them because the state is not placing education as a high enough of a priority.
“To me, it’s an issue of priorities,” said University of Nevada, Las Vegas law professor Sylvia Lazos. “I’m disappointed that we’re willing to do that first before we invest in kids.”
It is unlikely that this kind of money would ever go to the education of Clark County School District (CCSD) students. If the $750 million were given to the CCSD, that would result in $2,300 for each public school student. Other ways that the public money for the stadium could be spent on, according Las Vegas Sun, include hiring 7,500 teachers with full benefits; repairing all broken school equipment, with enough extra to build at least six schools; giving $500 to every teacher every year for 83 years to spend on their classrooms; and expanding on Nevada based scholarships.
Sports teams and the Raiders franchise argue that this move will boost the city’s economy in different ways. It is said to bring in new jobs and money through tax revenue, which could go elsewhere, but is going to Las Vegas. These claims are misleading and have been continually disproven by economists. Jobs provided by the stadium and its construction, according to the National Review, would be low paying and part-time. Money coming in would be a transfer from other leisurely activities. There are no previous examples of how stadiums were able to justify the taking of public money for a situation much like the move of the Raiders.
Both the education system and economy are already lacking in Nevada, and the new edition of the Raiders football team will not help substantially with either. The public money being implemented for the new stadium will be at the expense of the public school students in Las Vegas, like my nieces and nephews. With Nevada ranking at the bottom of the barrel in terms of education and student wellbeing, taxpayer money should be funded towards education rather than entertainment.