State Board Candidates In Their Own Words (Hard Cash And Hard Drink Edition)

So, in the wake of Post revelations (see here and here) that candidates for the elected state board of education are raising record amounts of money (hmm: why EVER is this rush of money happening?!? Oh, that’s why), local (and unpaid volunteer) education advocacy group C4DC has published answers that candidates provided to questions from the group.

See the C4DC questionnaire and candidate responses here.

C4DC is also sponsoring a candidates’ forum for state board of education candidates from ward 1 and 5. The forum will take place on October 22 at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th St. NW). That evening, Ward 5 candidates Adrian Jordan and Zachary Parker will start their debate at 6 pm; Ward 1 candidates Jason Andrean, Emily Gasoi, and Callie Kozlak will start their debate at 7 pm. The event’s moderator is WAMU reporter Jenny Abamu.

Here are the total funds raised by each, as of last week’s most recent campaign finance reporting:

Jason Andrean (ward 1): $65,349.66; endorsed by DFER
Zachary Parker (ward 5): $44,944.03; endorsed by the Washington Teachers Union (WTU)
Emily Gasoi (ward 1): $31,062; endorsed by WTU
Adrian Jordan (ward 5): $18,548.06; endorsed by DFER
Callie Kozlak (ward 1): $16,140.61

And here are the totals for the other state board candidates:

Jessica Sutter (ward 6): $21,281.36; endorsed by DFER
Joe Weedon (ward 6): $15,447.13; endorsed by WTU
Ruth Wattenberg (ward 3): $13,224; endorsed by WTU
Dora Currea (ward 3): $10,663

Ward 4 candidates will have a special election in December, because of the late departure of the former Ward 4 board member. As a result, the Ward 4 candidates’ fundraising is relatively late and small–well, except for that of Rhonda Henderson:

Rhonda Henderson: $16,466.43; endorsed by DFER
Ryan Tauriainen: $2699
Elani Lawrence: $1565
Frazier O’Leary: $1450

Henderson’s total is all the more amazing in light of the fact that her first campaign donation came on September 1 (compared to 6 months earlier for many of the other candidates).

So, why is Henderson such a fundraising phenom? Heh.

Henderson works as a finance specialist at EdOps, a charter support business. Before that, she worked for DC Prep as a manager.

A little more than a quarter of Henderson’s 154 donors have given her the maximum allowed ($200), amounting to $9000, or more than half her total. Those large sum donors include charter, ed. reform, and development personnel, many of whom are the mayor’s political allies:

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER): Hmm: why ever would an organization awash in dark money and dedicated to ed reform and charter interests donate to candidates for a relatively small and powerless education board? [Confidential to the Post: Because it’s a relatively inexpensive way to legitimize and broaden the transfer of public education money to private interests.]

Scott Pearson: executive director of the charter board

Darrin Glymph: lawyer and mayoral supporter who works on public financing for charter schools and was board member of several DC charter schools; was also associated with EdBuild, an education reform organization focusing on public school funding formulas and supported by prominent education reform foundations (Broad, Walton, Gates, and CityBridge).

Phinis Jones: mayoral supporter and well-connected (in DC, at least) political operator

Terrence Golden & his wife, Kathleen: Businessman formerly on the Federal City Council, Terry Golden is a big supporter of charter schools and chair of the board of KIPP DC. (Terence Golden has also gifted DFER with significant donations.)

District Development Group: local development organization associated with mayoral allies Monica Ray & Phinis Jones

Dantes Partners: local developer managed by Buwa Binitie (who also donated $200 to Henderson), an influential donor and developer in DC

J.L. Terrell Construction: local developer

LAX Wine and Spirits: liquor store in southeast, by the Maryland border (i.e., not in Ward 4); the building occupied by this store is owned by LAX property management, which is located at an address in SE that is owned by Texas Gardens Partners LLC. (Notice how no human being is actually named here?) Texas Gardens Partners LLC has housing authority contracts with the city (see here and here for the latest, proposed in April–no names are attached to the LLC here, either).

Though developers and a liquor store donating to a state board of education candidate may be a little, erm, unusual, in this context of political cronies, hidden interests, and ed. reform advocates, they appear to be simply par for the course.

Vote–our schools depend on it.

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