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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Walmart owners pour $2 million into Bay State anti-public schools ballot initiative


Image result for wal-mart & educationWow! I have seen billionaires put money into elections on behalf of charter schools around the country, but this one takes the cake.

Alice Walton and Jim Walton of Arkansas really want Massachusetts to have more charter schools. 

They must be very unhappy that the public schools of the Bay State are #1 in the nation. Clearly, the state needs disruption and market forces to shake up its highly successful school system.

Mercedes Schneider writes that the two Waltons gave $1,828,770 to the campaign in Massachusetts to increase the number of charters in the state by a dozen a year in perpetuity.

Mercedes writes:


According to the September 09, 2016, filing of the Massachusetts ballot committee, Yes on 2, billionaire Arkansas resident Alice Walton is one of two individuals providing the $710,100 in funding to promote MA Question 2, raising the charter school cap.

Alice Walton provided $710,000.

A second contributor, Massachusetts resident Frank Perullo provided $100 in order to establish the committee.

And then, the Alice Walton cash was moved to another Question 2 ballot committee: $703,770.29 of Alice Walton’s Yes on 2 committee money was expended to fund Question 2 ballot committee, Campaign for Fair Access to Quality Public Schools, where it was combined with billionaire Arkansas resident Jim Walton’s contribution of $1,125,000, thus making the total Walton contribution to the two committees $1,835,000 (and total Walton contribution to the latter committee, $1,828,770.29).

The Campaign for Fair Access total on its Sept 09, 2016, filing was $2,292,183 for 43 contributors– with 79 percent of that money ($1,828,770 / $2,292,183) arriving from two out-of-state billionaires.
In other words, 95 percent of contributors (41 out of 43) provided only 21 percent of the total funding on the Campaign for Fair Access Sept 2016 report.

I can almost hear the conversation between Alice and Jim:

“You buy this Massachusetts ballot committee, and I’ll buy that one.”

“Done.”

The Waltons are not the only out-of-state billionaires using their wealth to influence the charter cap in a state in which they do not reside. 

According to the September 09, 2016, filing of the Question 2 ballot committee, Great Schools Massachusetts, other out-of-state billionaire/lobbying nonprofit contributors include the following:
  • John Arnold (Texas), $250,000
  • Michael Bloomberg (New York), $240,000
  • Education Reform Now (ERN) Advocacy (New York), $250,000
  • Families for Excellent Schools (FES) Advocacy (New York), $5,750,000
She points out that the lobbying groups need not report their donors, so no one will know which billionaires chipped in to the campaign to privatize the public schools of Massachusetts.

This is a disgusting display of oligarchs undermining not only public education but democracy.

People of Massachusetts, send the Waltons and their ill-gotten gains, squeezed out of the wages of underpaid employees at Walmart, back to Arkansas. Let them fix their own state’s low-performing schools. Tell them to go away by voting NO on Proposition 2 on November 8.