MA Question 2 Funding Hits $21.7 Million
On November 08, 2016, Massachusetts voters will be deciding whether or not to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. The ballot measure, known as Question 2, would open the door for “up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year.”
According to October 05, 2016, filings, the following Question 2 ballot committees reported raising additional funds:
In favor of Question 2:
- Campaign for Fair Access to Quality Public Schools: $25,165
- Great Schools Massachusetts: $2,215,437 (Includes the entire $150,000 reported on October 05, 2016, from the ballot committee, Expanding Educational Opportunities)
- Yes on 2 (apparently created only so that Arkansas billionaire, Alice Walton, could contribute $710,000 in July 2016) is now officially dissolved.
Opposed to Question 2:
- Save Our Public Schools: $7,459
What this means is that to date, the ballot committees in favor of Question 2 have raised just shy of $14.5 million in unique dollars** to expand charters in MA– with $8.6 million of that amount (60 percent) coming from New York-based Families for Excellent Schools– and being dumped into the coffers of Great Schools Massachusetts.
In contrast, the single ballot committee opposing Question 2, Save Our Public Schools, has raised $7.2 million– just under half of the amount raised by the pro-charter-expansion camp.
Thus, the total money spent on MA Question 2 is currently at $21.7 million. By comparison, as of October 05, 2016, the marijuana legalization ballot measure has a total of just over $4.3 million in funding ($3.7 million, in favor, and $634,000, opposing)– or only 20 percent of the amount of money behind Question 2 on charter expansion.
The millions continue to roll in (mostly from New York) to remove that MA charter cap. However, it appears that the MA public is not itself predominately *buying into* the pro-charter push. Between September 27 and October 03, the Western New England University Polling Institute conducted a phone survey of 403 “likely voters” and found that 47 percent opposed charter expansion while 34 percent supported it. (18 percent undecided; 1 percent declined to comment; margin of error + 5 percent).
The amount of out-of-state money behind MA charter expansion– and the fact that such money has been under scrutiny in the news– could turn out to be charter camp’s undoing.
**Note that some of these ballot committees are donating to one another. The total dollars reported on the ballot report summary page are not adjusted for such duplicate donations.