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September 22, 2015

Charter-Schools Backers Plan Massive L.A. Fundraising Effort

Charter supporters in Los Angeles have drafted a strategy to place half of the city's 260,000 students in the independently run schools by 2023 and raise nearly half a billion dollars to back the plan by tapping leading philanthropists and foundations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A 44-page "Great Public Schools Now Initiative" document, dated June 2015 and obtained by the newspaper, puts a $490-million price tag on the plan to expand the Los Angeles school district's charter program —  the nation's largest, at 16 percent of enrollment — and create "a model for all large cities to follow."

The report names the Gates, Bloomberg, Annenberg, and Hewlett foundations and individual donors such as Eli Broad, Elon Musk, and David Geffen as promising targets to fund a multipronged campaign to generate public and political support and build hundreds of new charters, which are taxpayer-financed but run by independent, frequently nonprofit operators.

The Times reported last month that local charter leaders were meeting with the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to discuss a major charter expansion. The foundation said at the time that the plan was in an early, exploratory phase.