The Billionaires Bought this Election

Alex Capito-Pearl & Steve Zimmer Canvassing

Above, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl and LAUSD School Board member and President Steve Zimmer, canvass neighborhoods during Zimmer's re-election campaign in May 2017.

UTLA statement on LAUSD School Board election results

We’re in the midst of an existential fight for the soul of public education, and last night we lost an important round. It’s a troubling development — for our communities and for our democracy — that a handful of wealthy individuals can essentially buy a local election.

See Election Results

The California Charter Schools Association and its billionaire supporters poured more than $10 million into the campaigns for Nick Melvoin and Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez, outspending the locally supported candidates by more than 2 to 1. Their goal, linked to the Donald Trump/Betsy DeVos agenda on the national level, is to dismantle public education through the aggressive, unchecked expansion of corporate charters at the expense of neighborhood schools.

“The billionaires bought this election by spending more than has ever been spent in a School Board race in U.S. history, more than big-city mayor races, and more than most U.S. Senate races,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. “Like Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos, they want privatized, unregulated schools that don’t serve all kids.”

Our campaign volunteers met the outsiders’ millions with heart and determination, turning out in unprecedented numbers for the campaigns. Through those efforts we are better positioned for the work to come.

“We have just begun to fight,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. “We are doubling down on working with the movement of parents, youth, community, educators, and unions that formed around Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla. Together we will fight to invest in our neighborhood schools and put common-sense regulations on charter schools that protect students, families, and taxpayers. We will fight against privatizing our public schools and against creating ‘separate and unequal’ for our kids. We cannot lose the civic institution of public education, and we cannot lose the fight for educational justice.”

UTLA, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union local, represents more than 35,000 teachers and health & human services professionals who work in the Los Angeles Unified School District, including educators at many independent charter schools.

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