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Another Out-of-State $1.4 Million Pumped into Louisiana BESE Election

October 18, 2015

According to an October 14, 2015, campaign finance filing of Louisiana businessman Lane Grigsby’s Empower Louisiana PAC, billionaires John and Laura Arnold contributed $625,000 on September 18, 2015, to Grigsby’s PAC via the Arnold 501(c)4 lobbying nonprofit, Action Now Initiative.

Former New York City mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, contributed an additional $800,000 on October 02, 2015.

According to Empower Louisiana PAC, the additional $1.4 million will go toward promoting four candidates in the October 24, 2015, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) election. Two of the candidates, Jim Garvey (District 1) and Holly Boffy (District 7), already hold BESE seats and have been faithful supporters of the corporate reform agenda.

Retired teacher Lee Barrios is running against Garvey for District 1. Barrios is known for her constant presence at BESE meetings and her frequent public records requests.

As for Boffy’s opponent, career educator Mike Kreamer of District 7 does not share Boffy’s affinity for selling out to the corporate reform machine.

One Grigsby-supported candidate, Sandy Holloway, is a virtual unknown. Grigsby is trying to buy him the BESE seat currently held by Lottie Beebe of District 3, who is decidedly against the corporate reform agenda.

The final seat that Grigsby hopes to buy is currently held by Mary Harris of District 4, who is decidedly against the corporate reform agenda. Harris was appointed in January 2015 to replace Walter Lee, who resigned in December 2014 as part of a plea agreement for charges of theft/fraud. Grigsby wants to put corporate-reform-minded Tony Davis in that seat.

According to a September 24, 2015, filing, Grigsby’s Empower Louisiana PAC has also received a combined $650,000 from California billionaire Eli Broad ($250,000) and Jim ($200,000) and Alice ($200,000) Walton.

What this means is that four out-of-state billionaire families have contributed over $2 million to a single Louisiana PAC in order to purchase four unsalaried seats on a state education board.

Grigsby’s PAC is little more than a funnel for out-of-state billionaires to try to purchase decision-making power over Louisiana education in order to replace it with a narrow, destabilized, under-regulated, test-score-driven schools that billionaire children never experience firsthand.

All the more reason to FLIP BESE. (Click image to enlarge.)


Also against the corporate reform agenda:

Kara Washington (District 2)

Johnny Fatheree (District 5)

Jason France (District 6)

Carolyn Hill (District 8)


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, published on June 12, 2015.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.


  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    I wish it were possible for someone in each state to do this kind of research. In addition to these billionaire finflows to school board elections, ALEC has set up a local initiative, feeding its model legislation and policy papers to members who pay several thousand for the opportunity to “offer advice” to local officials on how to vote and whom to support. The local officials who are willing to receive this advice join the “baby” version of ALEC to identify themselves and gather other perks including back-scratching support in their election campaigns. I view this as a form of political payola. You can find the information about the local legislative arm of ALEC at the ALEC website.

  2. Donna permalink

    Looks like the best candidates the (dirty) money can buy. There should be no allowance of out of state monies for SCHOOL BOARD elections. Just buying themselves a back door to bring the reform in during the dark of night. Shame on them. One day, they will meet there makers, and go south to the land of heat, horns and tails.

  3. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Wow. Disgusting. I agrees with Laura and Donna. Wow.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Four Billionaires Hope to Buy Control of the Louisiana State Board of Education | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Four Billionaires Hope to Buy Control of the Louisiana State Board of Education | Co-Opt-Ed
  3. Ed News, Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Edition | tigersteach
  4. John White Is Subsidizing Voucher Schools– and Being Called Out by BESE | deutsch29
  5. New Orleans Schools’ 2017 District Grade: Big Flop. | deutsch29
  6. La. PAC Used to Funnel $3M in Out-of-State Billionaire Cash into 2015 BESE Election Disbands | deutsch29
  7. Louisiana’s Next Superintendent: Baghian, or Brumley, or Neither? | deutsch29

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