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