Charter School Interests Seek to Ban Organized Labor from Participation in School Board Elections

builders taking bricks from public school to build a charter school

Update on story below:

Victory! Due to pressure from Local 21, the proposed resolution that would have banned labor from making contributions to West Contra Costa School Board candidates was amended to exclude all offensive language! Special thanks to Local 21 member Sandi Brown for her work on this!


An alarming situation is emerging in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. A draft resolution is being considered which disguises itself as a measure that would apply campaign reform rules to school board elections, but is actually a direct attack on the voice of the working people. The resolution would only allow campaign contributions from individuals and political parties while excluding Political Action Committees, thereby greatly favoring wealthy persons capable of cutting big checks. In contrast, the voices of working people who need to pool their resources to be heard would be shut out because the resolution would bar Organized Labor from providing financial support for candidates.
 
It is no coincidence that certain interests would like to keep Labor from having a say in determining who will make critical decisions about our children’s education. Labor has been the leading voice exposing the inequity of the Charter School movement in West Contra Costa County. Charter schools have fewer regulations and less transparency than public schools while still taking ADA money, and have been accused of contributing to increased racial segregation in schools. There are also concerns about the focus of these schools being on making money for stakeholders and not on accessible education for all.
 
Local 21 is not going to stand for an underhanded takeover of the West Contra Costa Unified School District by charter school interests. Members of IFPTE Local 21 have been heading the charge against this dangerous resolution. “The last thing these organizations want is organized opposition from the people who work every day to educate the children of West Contra Costa County,” says Local 21 Lead Representative Jonathan Wright. “By banning PAC contributions, they seek to silence our voice in the upcoming election to fill three seats on the board.” Wright has written a fiery letter of opposition to Trustees and determined through a legal review that elements of the proposed resolution are likely illegal.
 
Working people deserve to have a voice in their school districts, and Local 21 stands committed to protecting education as a public good and not as a profit making enterprise. If you want to get involved in the fight to protect working people’s voices in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, contact Jonathan Wright at jtwright@ifpte21.org!