Tom Butt
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  Campaign Finance in the WCCUSD Race
October 31, 2020

From Public Core:


Big Charter Money in School Board Elections

Charter interests are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy School Board Seats in Oakland and West Contra Costa County. Based on required filings with the County Clerk, Charter interests have contributed more than $189,000 directly  to the campaigns of  Panas, DePaz, Williams, and Alleyne for the WCCUSD Board of Education Races. 
By far the largest contributor to the 2020 race is the two-pronged pro-charter school entity: - GO Public Schools (a charter advocacy organization replicated in districts across the country) here as - West Contra Costa Kids Can (WCCKC). This is one of the “astro-turf” organizations founded and funded by one of our district’s millionaire charter operators, Steve Chamberlain (Summit). 
This organization is spending about $250,000 to benefit four candidates: 

  • Area 1: Estella DePaz
  • Area 2: Golddie Williams 
  • Area 5: Tom Panas County 
  • BOE: Fatima Alleyne 

United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) has contributed less than one-third that, about $72,000, to  try to counter the charter money to support: 

  • Area 1: Jamela Smith-Folds 
  • Area 2: Otheree Christian 
  • Area 4: Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy County
  • Area 5: Leslie Reckler  
  • BOE: Consuelo Lara 

Here is the breakdown: 

1) WCCKC has contributed $189,000 directly to the four candidates: Depaz, Williams, Panas and Alleyne. Much of this has been “in-kind contributions” of staff, consulting, and polling which strongly suggests that the WCCKC is actually running the campaigns. 

2) WCCKC funds almost the entire campaigns of DePaz, Williams and Alleyne. 

3) WCCKC and Tom Panas fund $62,000 of Alleyne's total contributions of $$79,000 

4) WCCKC funds $59,000 of Depaz's $70,000 

5) WCCKC funds $62,000 of Williams' $65,000 

6) Tom Panas and his committee have contributed $9,000 to Fatima Alleyne's campaign. 

7) Tom Panas (Area 5) loaned $104,000 and contributed $26,000 to his $170,000 campaign .WCCKC funds $35,00. 

8) Leslie Reckler (Area 5) has loaned $42,000 and contributed $10,000 to her $$77,000 campaign. 

9) UTR has contributed $72,000 to Smith-Folds, Gonzalez-Hoy, Christian, Reckler and Lara. 

10) IBEW Local 302 has contributed $6,000 to two candidates: Christian and Smith-Folds. 

11) The vast majority of the financing of DePaz, Williams, Panas, and Alleyne is de-facto from Ron Nahas, Steve Chamberlin (via the organizations WCCKC and GO Public Schools), and Tom Panas.

(All of this information is based on required filings as of October 30,2020 with the County Clerk)

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