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Charter school proponents draw funds from NY donors

Charter school proponents draw funds from NY donors

With campaigns on both sides of the debate on charter school expansion poised to spend $30 million in what is certain to be the costliest ballot referendum in state history, some bloggers are probing the funding sources for the pro-charter Great Schools Massachusetts campaign.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers are bankrolling the Save our Public Schools Campaign, which is urging voters to vote no on ballot question 2. If passed, the measure will lift the statewide cap on new charter schools, allowing for up to 12 new charters a year in Massachusetts. Save Our Public Schools says charters, which divert $400 million a year from Massachusetts public school systems, will grab an even larger share of public funding and imperil the financial well-being of the districts – and cities and towns – in which they operate.

The Great Schools Massachusetts campaign, which the Boston Globe reported will spend $18 million on its campaign, says the statewide cap on charter schools limits parents’ choices. So where is that $18 million coming from?

According to blogger Maurice Cunningham, who posted on WGBH’s website, much of it is coming from wealthy donors in Massachusetts and New York:

“What we can say is that the privatization effort in Massachusetts is a construct of several wealthy families and that the campaign has been going on longer than is generally realized,” he writes.