Money talks in charter school debate | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Money talks in charter school debate

Posted By on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 7:31 AM

Money is pouring into legislative races in New York from supporters and opponents of charter schools. Millionaires on one side; unions on the other, the NY Times reports.

With Arkansas legislation expected in January from the wealthy Arkansans who support charter school expansion here (on easing teacher certification rules and lifting the cap on charter schools, most likely), you'd expect some familiar names to turn up in legislative races here as well. Examples of money spent by several associated with the charter school drive:

Jim Walton, the major charter bankroller, turns up with more than $40,000 in contributions in the 2010 election cycle in Arkansas, mostly to candidates for state legislature. That's a handsome sum by legislative standards.

Here, 34 contributions totalling $36,000, mostly to legislative candidates, including Senate candidate and former teacher union leader Linda Pondexter Chesterfield,.

Here's another $1,000 to a legislative candidate.

Here's $3,000 more to legislative candidates.

Here's $100 to a legislative candidate.

Here's $500 to a legislative candidate.

Here's a $1,000 legislative contribution.

Among other charter proponents, Jackson T. Stephens Jr. has put $4,000 into legislative races.

Claiborne Deming
, the former Murphy Oil CEO, tossed $5,500 to legislative candidates — these also appearing on Walton's list., Lenville Evans, Curren Everett, Johnny Hoyt, Linda Tyler and John Paul Wells. He gave another $115 here.

Madison Murphy has $4,500 in legislative contributions in the 2010 cycle. (This link includes contributions from others besides Madison Murphy.)

In keeping with his usual practice, publisher Walter Hussman has made no political contributions. His support is provided in-kind throughout his newspapers.

Luke Gordy, the paid lobbyist for the moneyroots charter campaign, has given $1,000 to Gov. Mike Beebe.

Note: I don't know how up-to-date the reporting at It's possible these contributors have added more, since many of these contributions came early in the cycle (in time for the 2010 budget session).

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