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Reid: Schools Could Use Federal 'Jobs Bill' Money to Buy iPads

Senate majority leader says it's up to the states.

3:45 PM, Oct 18, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be moving forward this week on a piece of President Obama's failed jobs bill--a $35 billion provision of state aid for education and first responders. But Reid told reporters today that some of the education money may not go to actually saving the jobs of teachers. 

Harry Reid

"Will all of that money be going toward teachers' salaries?" THE WEEKLY STANDARD asked Reid at the Capitol this afternoon. " Will any of it be going toward infrastructure of schools, school supplies, [or] iPads?"

“It will be up to the states to determine what to do with that money in the area of education,” Reid replied. “As long as it’s focused on teaching.”

As Joel Gehrke points out, local schools in a few states have used past stimulus money earmarked for education not on teachers’ salaries but on other items, like iPads. Reid admitted that some of the $35 billion provision set aside for saving teachers’ jobs may not go to saving teachers’ jobs.

“We have a few states that haven’t laid anyone off,” Reid said. “They still get a proportional share of this money based on the number of children they have in their state.”

The provision would be paid for by a 0.5 percent surtax on those households earning more than $1 million annually. "Whatever millionaires are paying today, we're asking them to pay one half of one percent to allow 400,000 teachers and first responders to keep their jobs and get their jobs back," said Reid.

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