In February, Texas AFT reported that out-of-state billionaires were attempting to buy the State Board of Education to pave the way for more for-profit charter school chains in Texas. In many ways, they succeeded, with a number of their preferred candidates advancing to the general election.
These billionaires are at it again, as Texas Ethics Commission filings report a $200,000 to the Charter Schools Now PAC from Jim Walton of the anti-union family that owns Walmart.
Walton’s contribution supports state House candidates and incumbents across Texas from both parties, including Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) and Rep. Valorie Swanson (R-Houston).
Rep. John Lujan (R-San Antonio) has also received support from the Charter Schools Now PAC. As Lujan competes in a tough race against AFT-endorsed challenger Frank Ramirez, the charter PAC has been sending mail to voters in House District 118, endorsing Lujan and decrying public schools with “radical woke ideas.”
Texas AFT is increasingly concerned about the undue influence of out-of-state billionaires in Texas public education, with PACs putting millions of dollars behind candidates and incumbents, including Gov. Greg Abbott, to advocate for “school choice” and risky voucher schemes, like the recently uncovered plot to send taxpayer dollars to private schools in Wimberley, Texas.
It is vital that educators, school employees, and public school families turn out to vote for pro-public education candidates. Find Texas AFT COPE’s endorsed candidates, as well as election information, at vote.texasaft.org.