Wayne Au and Joseph J. Ferrare have published an interesting article in the TC Record about the passage of charter school legislation in Washington State.

 

The intriguing aspect of the charter referendum in 2012 is that a similar proposition had been presented to voters three times in the recent past and voted down three times.

 

In 2012, however, billionaires and venture philanthropists and their allies created a huge fund to support the charter initiative, over $10.9 million. You will not be surprised to learn that Bill Gates supplied over $3 million of the total, followed closely by Alice Walton, heiress of the Walmart fortune, at $1.7 million. What is startling is that almost 98% of the $10.9 million was contributed by only 21 individuals.

 

We have seen a number of elections where extraordinary individuals managed to overcome a huge spending disadvantage to win a school board seat. This was not one of those elections where the power of the people beat the power of the purse.