Election Update: Charter schools, billionaire supporters, and their lobbyists are despicable

Charter schools and their lobbyists have quietly raise tens of millions of dollars from billionaires to attack supporters of public schools that are running for local school boards (see below).

The Post News Group reported that,

The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), funded by pro-charter school billionaires, is sending out negative mailers to voters’ homes.  The “hit pieces” are attacking attorney Roseann Torres, the incumbent Oakland school board member who is running for reelection in District 5.

One of the mailers attacks Torres for being a defense lawyer, saying she is a “lawyer for child molesters.”

“Rosie does well as a lawyer, defending abusers, molesters and kidnappers,” the CCSA mailer said.

Another mailer said, “Rosie opposes affordable housing” for teachers. The actual school board discussion it references, which never resulted in a vote, was whether to build “tiny houses” for teachers on public property where a school was located. The proposal was opposed by many teachers.

A third mailer blasted Torres for going to conferences, where she represented Oakland on statewide and regional issues and accuses her of going on “travel junkets,” for which the school district paid about a total of about $11,000.

The campaign to unseat Torres is funded by the CCSA and Great Oakland (GO) Public Schools political action committee (PAC), an Oakland-based pro-charter school organization, which receives funding from the CCSA and donations from some of the same billionaires who are making independent expenditures for three Oakland school board candidates.

The negative mailers are attributed solely to the California Charter Schools Association Advocates and the CCSA Advocates’ Independent Expenditure Committee.

In a statement sent to the Post, Torres responded to the hit pieces.

“I get the honor of (working as a lawyer) representing mostly low-income Latino families with legal issues like custody/divorce, arrests of all kind, often profiling by police, as well as horrible car accidents because of someone’s negligence,” she said.

Torres said the flyers attacking her are “negligent and misleading, (and) the GO Public Schools Oakland Advocates’ candidate (has) messaged this hate to me personally at forums.”

The actions of GO and California Charter School Association are despicable. I stand with school board members that are supporters of public schools. I am not bamboozled by the school privatization and private control positions of candidates supported by billionaires, GO, and the CCSA in the 2016 campaign.

Charter school supporters should immediately disavow this smear campaign perpetrated by GO and CCSA.

See also Capitol and Main’s excellent investigative series:

Gap Co-Founder Doris Fisher Is Bankrolling the Charter School Agenda – And Pouring Dark Money Into CA Politics

Election Inflections: Mega-Donor Bill Bloomfield’s Journey From GOP Champion to Charter School Rainmaker

The Battle of Hastings: What’s Behind the Netflix CEO’s Fight to Charterize Public Schools?

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  • But Rosie Torres, the school board member they’re “attacking” is a pro charter board member also. 4 years ago CCSA supported her. I ran for school in 2012 and I’m running again this year. I am the only pro public education candidate in the race. I am the only candidate who has never taken money from charters and their billionaire backers. In two elections I have had nearly $400,000 spent against my campaign. Please don’t be fooled what the narrative some are trying to create.

    Mike Hutchinson for Oakland School Board District 5


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