If the Los Angeles school board elections were a movie, then the nominee for best supporting actor might go to an individual who so far has received little attention: Reed Hastings.
Based on documents reviewed by The Times, the co-founder of Netflix has contributed close to $5 million since last September to the California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates, a major conduit of funds for school board candidates backed by charter school supporters. His most recent contribution was $1 million on Tuesday.
Another major recent contributor is a familiar name in education politics. Eli Broad put in $400,000 last Friday, on top of $50,000 he gave in November.
Teachers unions and their allies, including other labor groups, also are spending big, matching the pro-charter side dollar for dollar in one of the races.
The major outside player on that side is the American Federation of Teachers, a national union headed by Randi Weingarten. It has reported contributions of about $1.2 million so far.
If charter backers prevail, they could win their first pro-charter majority on the school board of the nation’s second-largest school system.
Charter supporters are backing Kelly Gonez for the soon-to-be-open seat in District 6 in the east San Fernando Valley. Outside spending on behalf of Gonez totaled about $2.1 million through Wednesday, according to records filed with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.
United Teachers Los Angeles is supporting Imelda Padilla, who has benefited from $2.14 million in outside spending, in the race.
In District 4, stretching from the Westside to the west Valley, charter advocates are behind Nick Melvoin, who is challenging union-backed, two-term incumbent Steve Zimmer, the school board’s president.
Outside spending for Melvoin has surpassed $4.25 million; for Zimmer, $2.16 million.
Both charter-backed candidates have raised more money for their own campaigns than their opponents have.
You can read the rest at the Washington Post.