Though a $1 million donation brought only one of three of his favored candidates onto the school board in Los Angeles this March, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has again donated big bucks to support a like-minded candidate for Los Angeles’ school board. Bloomberg’s $350,000 donation went to the Coalition for School Reform to support Antonio Sanchez, who is in a runoff election for a board seat, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The coalition is an independent expenditure group affiliated with the city’s mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, that supports the district’s superintendent, John Deasy, and his policies. One of the candidates the Coalition backed in March, Mónica García, won and is now the board’s president. But Steve Zimmer, whom the coalition had opposed, won his seat, too. The race between Sanchez and Ratliff was not definitive.
Sanchez is a former Villaraigosa aide. His opponent is Monica Ratliff, a teacher and former attorney, who has raised $7,297 for her race so far, according to the Times. Sanchez has raised $14,880, but the Coalition for School Reform reportedly amassed more than $600,000 in donations for this runoff election even before Bloomberg’s contribution.
March’s race for school board saw almost $5 million spent on campaigning.
Bloomberg’s $1 million donation earlier this year was the largest single donation ever made to a school board race in Los Angeles. Laschoolreport.com reports that the Coalition for School Reform has also gotten checks from Eli Broad and StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee’s organization.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday on accusations from some members of Los Angeles’ teachers’ union, the UTLA, who say the union leadership has made a deal with Sanchez despite his support for Deasy. That internal turmoil hints at a tension within the union, the Times says: Some feel they should work with the powers that be, while others want to continue to contest policies they disagree with.
A school board race in New Orleans last fall also brought a wave of outside money—from a similar list of names and organizations—to that city.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.