Candidates for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Race. From left, incumbent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck.

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the race for California state superintendent of public instruction has been fueled by a combined $24 million in total campaign spending for incumbent Tom Torlakson and candidate Marshall Tuck. Outside groups not affiliated with either candidate represent the bulk of that spending – close to $19.4 million on ads and mailers on behalf of the candidates.

For more details about the money behind the race, check out our campaign finance app here.

Torlakson and Tuck have raised nearly the same amount in direct contributions, according to recent campaign filings reported on the Secretary of State website. Torlakson, who started fundraising in 2011, has raised about $2.5 million, while Tuck, who started fundraising in late 2013, has raised about $2.4 million.

By law, donors are limited in how much they can directly contribute to candidates. Individuals are allowed to contribute up to $6,800 for a primary election and another $6,800 for a general election. All other donors, such as political action committees and businesses, are capped at $13,600 per primary election, and the same amount for a general election.

There are no limits on donors to outside groups, identified on campaign disclosure reports as “independent expenditure committees.” These committees have intensified their efforts in the past few weeks. A new committee supporting Tuck, “Parents and Teachers for Tuck for State Superintendent 2014,” formed in early October and has spent about $7.5 million on ads. It is the outside group that has spent the most of any of the committees supporting Tuck. The committee is financed by 30 donors who gave on average $267,000 each, including real estate developer William Bloomfield, Jr., Broad Foundation founder Eli Broad, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Emerson Collective Chair Laurene Powell Jobs.

Another committee, “Great Public Schools Los Angeles PAC” – largely formed to support Los Angeles school board candidate Alex Johnson ­– gave $117,450 to the Tuck committee. The Los Angeles PAC is financed by many of the same individuals funding the Tuck committee.

The majority of Torlakson’s financial support is coming from the California Teachers Association. This week the CTA spent $1.2 million on issue advocacy ads supporting Torlakson but not expressly calling for his election, adding to the $3.9 million it previously spent on issue ads on his behalf. It has also contributed through the “Torlakson for Superintendent: Major Funding by the California Teachers Association” committee. The committee has raised $5.2 million, mainly from unions, including the California Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the California School Employees Association. It has spent $2.3 million supporting Torlakson and $1.8 million opposing Tuck.

The “American Federation of Teachers – Kids, Families and Teachers Supporting Torlakson for Superintendent of Public Instruction 2014” committee formed earlier this month and has spent $276,205 on ads opposing Tuck. The committee has no large donors; records indicate it has been funded through donations of less than $100 each, which do not require disclosure under campaign finance law. A committee formed by the California Federation of Teachers, a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, also spent $190,000 supporting Torlakson.

 


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  1. Jack Covey 2 years ago2 years ago

    Check out this commercial for Marshall Tuck: Mary Najera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPiJYvvczS0 This woman, Mary Najera, was a paid staffer with Parent Revolution for years, making a six-figure, or high five-figure salary, paid to privatize schools... not some poor minority parent telling a tear-jerker story about her impoverished son... Ms, Najera ha since moved on to staff at the Extera Charter School Corporation---allied with Parent Revolution---where she's still a paid corporate shill making a six-figure (or high five-figure) salary … Read More

    Check out this commercial for Marshall Tuck:

    Mary Najera

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPiJYvvczS0

    This woman, Mary Najera, was a paid staffer with Parent Revolution for years, making a six-figure, or high five-figure salary, paid to privatize schools… not some poor minority parent telling a tear-jerker story about her impoverished son…

    Ms, Najera ha since moved on to staff at the Extera Charter School Corporation—allied with Parent Revolution—where she’s still a paid corporate shill making a six-figure (or high five-figure) salary to, again, promote privatization of our schools, where schools will no longer be accountable or transparent to the public via democratically-elected school boards, and will not educate all the public.

    Parent Revolution is an astroturf front group—a school privatization super-PAC, if you will—funded by billionaires who want to privatize our schools, and thus, they’re backing Marshall Tuck. If you got to its website, it looks like a grassroots assemblage of poor minorities pulling together, when, in its inception, Parent Revolutions was started by the Green Dot Charter Corporation to give the appearance of parent demand for privatization WHEN THERE IS NONE. Over the years, Parent Revolution has gotten over $100 million dollars from the usual suspects—Eli Broad, Bil Gates, the Walton Family, Michael Bloomberg… the same out-of-state moneyed forces now backing Marshall Tuck.

    Education activist Robert D. Skeels accurately portrays Ms. Najera as “a hostile takeover specialist” in privatizing schools.

    http://rdsathene.blogspot.com/2011/04/readers-speak-out-on-ben-austin-parent.html

    I just spoke to a teacher at the traditional public school, Lorena Street School, where one of the Extera Charter Schools (allied with Parent Revolution) was forcibly co-located on their campus. Despite a directive from the LAUSD board barring Exteran and her from doing so, Ms. Najera has actively attempted, with limited success, to poach students from Lorena Street, and move to Extera. The teacher I just spoke to claims that when the Extera and Lorena St. students both walk through the same entrance, Ms. Najera hands out candy ONLY to the Extera kids, and tell the Lorena St. kids, that they’ll get candy, too…. if they leave Lorena St, and move to Extera.

    Sweet Jesus!

    Like everything else about Marshall Tuck and his campaign, this above video featuring Ms. Najera is phonier than a Chinese redhead.

    Oh, you want proof that this woman is a phony? Check out Mary Najera’s double talk outside a phony, public “community forum” meeting staged by Parent Revolution a few years ago with an appearance by then-Mayor Villaraigosa, a privatization ally. She makes the contradictory claim that the meeting is open to the public, followed by the claim that attendance is RSVP-only, then backtracking again, insisting that “it’s not private.”

    Can’t you get your lies straight, Mary?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeZErIh8UWA

    s

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Mr. Covey, Torlakson doesn't want to change any element of a system which made all layoffs based on seniority, caused 40k to be paid out to Mark Berndt before his prison sentence for sexual abuse, and has protected many bad teachers. He doesn't want to change a system in which many teachers feel it is OK to take a day off and leave kids with a sub just because it is in the contract, … Read More

      Mr. Covey, Torlakson doesn’t want to change any element of a system which made all layoffs based on seniority, caused 40k to be paid out to Mark Berndt before his prison sentence for sexual abuse, and has protected many bad teachers. He doesn’t want to change a system in which many teachers feel it is OK to take a day off and leave kids with a sub just because it is in the contract, and teachers miss more days than kids.

      I’m sorry if one person did a minor thing wrong, but a vote for Torlakson is a vote for the status quo. I know several horrible teachers who have been there for decades and take 11 days off every year. The majority I know are good, but I have 5 kids and know some awful ones. One who just had 200 followers, all middle school students, on instagram see his porno post got transferred, not fired, and he was transferred to that school. I know of several teachers who never come to back to school night, year in, year out. 3 years in a row, and they were in school the day before and the day after. We had 11% absence the Tuesday before Thanksgiving after making Wednesday a day off to give teachers a day to drive. Torlakson thinks the status quo is fine and that if a teacher has 2 years experience and never called in sick, a deadwood teacher everyone knows is mediocre or bad and costs the district more money due to seniority should be kept over them if it comes to lay offs. The priority shouldn’t be deciding which teacher provides more value, but which has more seniority.

      So what this woman in a commercial did something wrong. A vote for Torlakson is a bad thing, a vote for the failed status quo. You’re trying to get people who lie reform to vote for Torlakson based on indivdualizing this in the hopes maybe next time a reformer will come along, but if not now, when? If not Tuck, who? My bet is you’ll have a problem with them if one even comes along. We’ve had nothing but status quo bureaucrats who are slaves to the union for decades.

  2. Kathy Shepard 2 years ago2 years ago

    It is unfortunate that this much money needs to be spent on a campaign for this office. Too bad this money can’t go to schools where it really could make a difference.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Read the article in Time on newsstands now. Tuck asked a local Superintendent why is it so hard to reform education? If you could have anything, more money, IPads, technology, what would you want? He replied, I'd like control over my workforce. When I had control in business, I could be very successful, but I have no control now, the union rules determine who gets promoted, demoted, laid off, retained forever. … Read More

      Read the article in Time on newsstands now. Tuck asked a local Superintendent why is it so hard to reform education? If you could have anything, more money, IPads, technology, what would you want? He replied, I’d like control over my workforce. When I had control in business, I could be very successful, but I have no control now, the union rules determine who gets promoted, demoted, laid off, retained forever.

      That’s why putting this money into the current system would have little impact. You’d still have a lot of bad teachers, and the study showed one bad teacher causes $250,000 in lifetime losses of income for the students, with another study showing significantly more than that. Washington DC spends 30k per pupil and gets nowhere. No amount of money is enough without pressure on teachers to work harder, pressure on parents and students to put more focus and time into education, and an ability to hire/fire by the content of a teacher’s character, not the number of years’ experience. Calling in sick when healthy knowing how much that hurts kids just because you have 11 days is indicative of poor character, yet quite common. Yet a superintendent can’t, when lay offs come, say I’d like to know who maxed out on days off the past 3 years, let them go first, they have to fire someone with 3 years experience and rave reviews and no sick days over a lemon.

      Throwing $24 million into this won’t change that problem.

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