Sunlight has discovered $70,000 in last-minute spending on school board elections from the NJEA’s Super PAC, Garden State Forward.
Recent filings with ELEC reveal that Garden State Forward spent $44,888 in Hillsborough Township for direct mail and digital ads. The filing describes the spending as “non-partisan” and the school board race is non-partisan, while the municipal race is partisan. So this clearly points to the NJEA inserting itself in Hillsborough school board elections in a big way.
The filings also show that Garden State Forward spent $25,170 in Sparta Township for direct mail and digital ads. Previous Sunlight reporting revealed that the NJEA’s traditional PAC, NJEA PAC, contributed $6,000 to the Advocating For All slate of Kaitlin Gagnon, Jennifer Grana, Jessica Nelson, Davina Daura, Dana Gulino and Tammy Mongon. The slate was endorsed by the Sparta Education Association, and Grana and Mongon are teachers and presumably NJEA members. Advocating For All has a slick, multi-functional website and such websites cost money. While Sparta municipal elections are non-partisan, NJEA PAC’s contribution to a NJEA-friendly slate is a clear indication that Garden State Forward’s additional $25,170 also supported the Advocating For All slate.
So that’s another $70,000 from the NJEA swooping in to tilt the scales for union-friendly candidates. It’s highly unlikely that the parents running against these candidates can match that sort of spending, so today’s elections take place on decidedly uneven playing fields.