The charter industry has set its sights on Texas, since the state has a rightwing Governor and Lieutenant Governor and Republicans control the state legislature.

So charter money is flowing to candidates for State Board of Education. In El Paso, board member Georgina Perez decided not to run again, so the charter industry is backing a charter school leader to take her place. Perez is a charter critic who recently joined the board of the Network for Public Education.

The charter industry has donated more than $200,000 to Omar Yanar. Yanar leads a small charter called the El Paso Leadership Academy.

The money behind the money: billionaires Reed Hastings and Jim Walton.

Charter Schools Now reported spending more than $1 million on various primary candidates throughout the state from Jan. 21-Feb. 19. That includes a $1,000 donation to state Sen. César Blanco, D-El Paso, who is unopposed in the March 1 primary, according to the PAC’s Feb. 22 filing.

The PAC gave to three Republican incumbent SBOE members’ reelection campaigns in addition to three Republican primary candidates and five Democratic primary candidates.

Charter Schools Now is heavily funded by two well-known charter advocates: Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings and Jim Walton, a member of the Walmart family.

Hastings is on the board of directors of KIPP Public Schools, a national charter school chain with campuses in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was previously on the national board of Rocketship Public Schools, which is opening its first Texas campus in August in Fort Worth.

Hastings gave $1.5 million to Virginia-based Educational Equity PAC on Feb. 15, the same day that PAC gave $570,000 to Charter Schools Now. Days earlier, Educational Equity gave Charter Schools Now $70,000.

Walton gave Charter Schools Now $450,000 in December 2021. The Walton Family Foundation has invested millions over the years to support public charter schools across the country.

One way to win elections is to buy them.

Reed Hastings lives in California.

Jim Walton lives in Arkansas.

Neither lives in Texas but they arrogantly assume that their money gives them the power to buy seats on the Texas Board of Education.

The charter industry wants to eliminate public schools or keep them as dumping grounds for students the charters don’t want.