Charter backers outspend teachers in 2 California races

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In the battle for the future of California’s schools, charter school advocates are far outpacing teachers unions in spending to support candidates for governor and state schools chief.

Wealthy donors who support charter schools and education reform have poured more than $22 million into independent committees to support former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for governor and former schools executive Marshall Tuck for state schools chief. Many of the same donors have also contributed directly to Villaraigosa’s and Tuck’s campaigns.

The independent committees aren’t subject to campaign contribution limits but are prohibited from coordinating messaging with the candidates.

Teachers unions have dropped about $4 million on independent committees to back Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond for superintendent. Teachers unions and other organized labor groups have also contributed to Newsom’s and Thurmond’s campaigns.

All four men are Democrats who want more education funding. But they differ on state officials’ role in improving schools and how to handle nonprofit charter schools, which are publicly funded but typically run independently of the traditional public school system.

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