Pay to Play Report: IDC Accepted Nearly $700,000 From Charter School Backers and PACs 1

Pay to Play Report: IDC Accepted Nearly $700,000 From Charter School Backers and PACs

Charters Rewarded in State Budget for Substantial Campaign Donations

The Alliance for Quality Education on Thursday released a report detailing the campaign donations that the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), the group of breakaway Democrats who support Republican control of the New York State  Senate, accepted from charter school donors over the past six years.

The report, titled, “Pay to Play: Charter Schools and the IDC,” breaks down the $677,000 donated to individual IDC members and the IDC campaign committee by charter school backers, including hedge fund managers and their political action committees, since 2011. Read the full report here.

The report also shows how the IDC worked to reward these charter school backers with their Republican Senate Coalition partners during the 2017-18 state budget process by delivering a larger operating aid funding increase per pupil to privately-fun charter schools than to public schools. The operating aid increase for charter schools was twice as large as the per student operating aid, also known as Foundation Aid, increase that public schools received.

“The IDC claims to champion public schools, but they can’t escape the numbers, which show that they have sold out to hedge-funder backed charter schools,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “The IDC is choosing to keep the Republicans in control of the State Senate, and that means backing the Senate Republicans’ pro-privatization, pro-Trump education agenda at the expense of protecting the wellbeing of the one million students that live in their districts. They have made their political gains on the backs of our kids long enough. It’s time New Yorkers got the truly Democratic Senate they elected.”

Among the donors included in the report, the national charter-backing group Democrats for Education Reform gave a total of $75,800 to multiple IDC member campaigns, while charter donor Thomas McInerny donated $100,000 to the Senate Independence Campaign Committee (SICC), which is controlled by Senator Jeff Klein, the leader of the IDC. Hedge fund manager Dan Loeb also gave $62,000 to the SICC and to Klein’s campaign.