New Ad Campaign Exposes Billionaires’ Agenda to Divert Money from Neighborhood Public Schools and Spend Millions in California Elections

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Kids Not Profits coalition calls on voters to support equity, accountability and transparency for all schools; Legislation set for hearings this week

SACRAMENTO – Today, Kids Not Profits, a coalition of educators, parents and civil rights, labor and community groups, launched a new round of radio ads as part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness and expose a group of out-of-state billionaires and their coordinated education agenda. This agenda is two-pronged, both working to divert money out of neighborhood public schools and into their corporate charter schools, as well as impacting legislators and legislation that allows them to continue to operate charter schools without the accountability and transparency of traditional public schools. The ads start as lawmakers in Sacramento are set to begin hearing proposed measures that would ensure equal access, accountability and transparency in all California schools.

Part of the Betsy DeVos donor network, these billionaires have spent tens of millions of dollars, contributing directly to state and local candidates, and funding independent expenditure committees to bring their narrow education agenda to California. The billionaires highlighted on KidsNotProfits.com have spent more than $36 million dollars to influence races across California since 2016. The independent expenditure committees include those controlled by EdVoice and the California Charter Schools Association Advocates.

These billionaires are in lock step with President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and their plans to defund and privatize public schools. The Walton Family Foundation, of which both Jim Walton and Alice Walton are actively involved with, has given millions of dollars to committees associated with DeVos.

“Californians need to be aware of the dangers and the big money these billionaires are spending to push their education agenda on us and to use students for their own profit,” said Eric Heins, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Educators, parents and civil rights activists will continue to push for accountability and transparency of these privately-run charter schools so that every child has the same access and protections. We want to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent on students and not lost to waste, fraud and abuse as proven by recent headlines and reports.”

Kids Not Profits is supporting three bills this legislative cycle which are being discussed by lawmakers beginning this week. Kids Not Profits is asking voters to contact lawmakers and urge them to support these bills:

AB 276 requires all charter schools to be transparent and accountable to parents and to disclose how they spend taxpayer money, including budgets and contracts. It prohibits charter school board members and their families from profiting from their schools and requires charter schools to comply with California’s open meetings, open records and conflict of interest laws.

AB 1871 helps ensure that charter schools – as part of our system of public education – provides fair access to school meals to all students, regardless of socio-economic status. More than 340,000 low-income students attend California charter schools. Unlike all other low-income public-school students, they are not protected by the existing state law that grants students in need access to school meals.

SB 1362 improves student access to charter schools while providing more local control to communities. The bill requires charter school petitions to describe how they will serve a balance of pupils receiving special education, reflective of the general population residing within the school district.

Kids Not Profits launched in 2016. For more information about Kids Not Profits, visit www.KidsNotProfits.com.

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