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California teachers union spends over $2.8 million on school board elections

After votes are tallied and election races called, voters may be unaware of how public unions bankrolled many local school board candidates. A recent report noted that the California Teachers Association (CTA) funded 287 school board candidates in 125 school districts across the state. CTA is the California state affiliate of the National Education Association.

The union spent over $2.8 million to fund school board candidates in both populous and rural cities. That amount does not account for local union affiliates’ funding, which could add hundreds of thousands more dollars to union-backed candidates.

Overall, school board candidates with CTA backing won their elections 70% of the time in 2022, which number could increase as ballots are counted this week.

CTA’s spending points to a greater trend within nationwide union political activities.

This year, unions backed multiple ballot propositions on topics such as the “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond” in New York or Colorado’s Proposition FF to raise taxes to fund a school meal program.

The trend of union involvement in politics is nothing new. Unions bankrolled over $1.8 billion in political lobbying and political activities in the 2020 election cycle, $1.4 billion of which came from union dues. AFFT offers detailed breakdowns of union spending on our website.

Spencer Irvine

Spencer Irvine is Senior Writer & Researcher at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Spencer previously worked in state government, in communications for a non-profit advocacy organization, and held various administrative and communications roles at a media analysis organization. He has a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University. He lives in Arizona with his wife, is an avid history buff and enjoys touring historic sites.