Let’s hear it for less democracy!
Just days before the voters of Bridgeport overwhelmingly defeated Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s bizarre 2012 proposal to eliminate the democratically elected board of education in Bridgeport and replace it with one appointed by the Mayor, millionaire charter school champion Jonathan Sackler quietly wrote a personal check for $50,000 to help pay for the final set of mailings and advertisements designed to persuade Bridgeport voters to give up their right to vote for those who oversee their City’s public schools.
Now Jonathan Sackler and many of the same pro-charter, anti-public education, pro-corporate elite are pumping money into Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr.’s campaign for State Senate with the goal of helping Moales qualify for a taxpayer-funded state campaign grant that he would use to pay for his campaign in the February 24th 2015 state senate special election.
It won’t come as any surprise to those who have watched the ongoing effort to undermine and denigrate the people of Bridgeport that the very same individuals and groups that worked so hard to take away democracy in Bridgeport and keep Paul Vallas in charge of Bridgeport’s schools are now working overtime to put Moales – a Malloy/Finch ally and disgraced former chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education – into the Connecticut State Senate.
The corporate elite, education reform industry and charter school advocates know that Kenneth Moales Jr. will be a safe vote for their anti-public education agenda, even if it means hurting the people of Bridgeport.
Jonathan Sackler, whose pharmaceutical company makes OxyContin, is a founding member of Achievement First, Inc., the large Charter School Management Company with schools in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Sacker is also the corporate education reform industry advocate who formed ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group. Sackler was one of the largest donors to Finch’s anti-democracy effort and now he tops the list for Moales as well.
Another key player for Moales is Andy Boas, the Chairman of the Board for Achievement First – Bridgeport, a member of the ConnCAN Board of Directors and the founder of The Charter Oak Challenge Foundation. In 2012 Boa was also one of the largest contributors to Finch’s campaign to do away with an elected school board in Bridgeport.
And now Boas and his wife, like Sacker and his wife, have both donated the maximum amount to Moales’ campaign.
In total, more than half a dozen of Moales’ largest campaign contributions have come from members of the Achievement First, Inc. or ConnCAN Boards of Directors.
Yet another major player in Finch’s failed charter revision effort was Excel Bridgeport, Inc. the corporate funded education reform group that lobbied for the illegal state takeover of Bridgeport’s schools and then dumped more than $101,000 to support of Finch’s charter revision effort to do away with a democratically elected board of education. Excel Bridgeport’s founder, Megan Lowney, who is also one of Malloy’s political appointees, recently gave Moales the maximum donation allowed under law.
Others who helped pay for Finch’s failed anti-democracy campaign and are now stepping up with donations for Moales’ campaign include;
Paul Vallas and his wife (now re-located back to Illinois)
Trefrey is the former President/CEO of Bridgeport Hospital. Trefrey chaired the illegal board that was handed control of Bridgeport’s schools by Governor Malloy’s administration. When the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that Malloy’s attempt to take over the Bridgeport Schools was illegal, Malloy appointed Trefrey to the State Board of Education’s Committee that oversees the state’s technical high schools. Bridgeport Hospital gave Finch’s charter revision campaign the maximum allowable donation, even at a time it was laying off staff. Trefrey has not given Moales the maximum allowable contribution.
Grace is the Connecticut State Director of the Northeast Charter School Network. The organization not only lobbies for more charter schools but helps private charter school management companies develop applications to get public funds.
Bollert was an education advisor to Mayor Bill Finch and helped create Excel Bridgeport, Inc.
McCullough serves with Moales on the Board of Directors of Steve Perry’s proposed Bridgeport charter school.
Coates is a charter school advocate, member of Families for Excellent Schools and is the newest member of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Coates and her husband are both donors to Moales.
Torres is a member of the Great Oaks Charter School Board of Directors.
Thompson is the former Finch aide and Vallas assistant who posted on his on-line resume that he was the Deputy Mayor for Education in Bridgeport, even though he was no such thing. Thomson is now an executive New Leaders Fund, a corporate education reform advocacy group in New York City. Brandon Clark, who ran on the Finch slate for Board of Education with Moales in 2013 but lost, also works with the New Leaders Fund with Thompson and also recently donated to Moales’ campaign.
Other Moales donors include a number of employees, lobbyists and consultants associated with ConnCAN, Achievement First, Inc. and other charter schools organizations in Hartford, New Haven and out-of state.
In order to get the full taxpayer funded grant of Moales has filed the paperwork to get a state taxpayer funded grant. In order to get the money he must raise a total of $11,250, of which 225 must come from people living in Bridgeport or Stratford. Depending on the number of signatures collected, Moales could receive a public grant of up to $71,000
Although Moales submitted the paperwork to get a grant last Friday, a review of his public financing report reveals a variety of problems and suspicious donations that could prevent him from qualifying for the public funding.
Note: A special thanks to Maria Pereira who also researched Moales’ recent campaign finance report and provided her findings to the “Only in Bridgeport” blog.