Newsom also pledges, if elected governor, to sign legislation that would require greater transparency in the operations and finances of charter schools.
Contributions to independent expenditure committees set up by charter school advocates to back Villaraigosa near $23 million.
The candidates differ on how they would work toward their goals to improve education in California.
Spending accelerates ahead of June 5 primary
Contribution of $2 million from San Francisco philanthropist William Oberndorf boosts contributions to independent expenditure committee backing Villaraigosa to just over $16 million
In contrast, the Republican candidates oppose providing state-subsidized preschool for all California 4-year-olds.
Event had empty podiums for no-shows, front runners Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox. Conservative Travis Allen voiced opinions at odds with three other debaters.
Contributions come at a critical period for Villaraigosa's campaign, as he vies to come out ahead of Republican contenders in the June 5 primary.
The former Los Angeles mayor proposed young people work in service jobs for a year in exchange for later receiving grants for tuition and books at state colleges and universities. He also pushes for new campuses to serve the Central Valley.
Gubernatorial race heats up in advance of what could be a decisive June 5 primary.
Contributions come at a time of slowing expansion of charter school sector in California and nationally
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation-initiated campaign hopes the next governor will focus on children beginning at birth, and implement child-friendly programs within the first 100 days.
The association also endorses Marshall Tuck for superintendent of public instruction.
Transcript of an October 2017 presentation at Advancement Project California’s Birth to Five Water Cooler conference in Sacramento.