• News Ticker alerts

Three wealthy San Diegans are doubling down on their support of William Ponder against teachers union-endorsed Marne Foster in their race for San Diego school board.

The two candidates, vying for the sub-district E seat being vacated by Shelia Jackson, are viewed by some insiders as virtual proxies for two of the city's most politically powerful interests, the teachers union, and a small, well-heeled group of those seeking to increase outsourcing of local education to charter schools and private corporations.

According to a filing dated October 2 and posted online late yesterday by the county registrar of voters, a group calling itself Alliance for Quality Education in Support of Bill Ponder for School Board 2012 has so far raised $90,500. It has spent $25,547, and as of September 30 had $65,359 of cash in the bank.

The largest donor is CAC Advisory Services LLC, a firm run by Rod Dammeyer, an investment manager and charter school backer.

The company has given a total of $40,500.

Dammeyer and Democratic La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs, now backing GOP city councilman Carl DeMaio for mayor, last year teamed up on a well-financed, but ultimately failed ballot bid to remake the school board by adding non-elected members.

Another donor to the Ponder cause is long-time charter school advocate R.B. "Buzz" Woolley, who has so far given $15,000, according to yesterday's filing.

Woolley is founder and chairman of the board of the Voice of San Diego; both Dammeyer and Jacobs have financially backed the online news website, according to disclosures made by the non-profit organization.

Yet another deep-pocketed Ponder contributor is William Lynch, the Rancho Santa Fe financier and investor who also has taken a long-time interest in school board affairs, having been one of former superintendent Alan Bersin's most ardent supporters.

The William D. Lynch Company gave $5,000.

Finally, the Sacramento-based California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee kicked in $25,000.

Woolley and Dammeyer have both been big contributors to that committee, as has New York's billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg, who gave $75,000 in June.

  • News Ticker alerts


monaghan Oct. 5, 2012 @ 12:39 p.m.

When you are rich, you never have to throw in the towel because there's always more money to be devoted to pet projects. So to speak. Your ballot prop to take over the elected School Board falls flat? No problem. There's always the electoral process where lousy candidates are a dime a dozen and ready to be bought.

Plus you get to hide yourself and your big "contributions" behind bogus committees which prop up know-nothing puppets for Board of Education -- which would describe candidate Bill Ponder. Not that his opponent, Marne Foster, who is being backed by the SDEA teachers union, is any better. Disgracefully, she apparently doesn't even show up at public information forums and debates.

Good luck to all socio-economically disadvantaged folks of color living South of I-8! You and your underachieving kids are going to need it, when you have this kind of School Board "choice"in November. But thanks to the rich guys living in Del Mar, La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe for their deep pockets and interest in public education, um, make that charters and voucher systems.


Visduh Oct. 8, 2012 @ 9 p.m.

The local voters in that area should know that their votes are being bought by people who have no real interest in the quality of schools in that part of the city and school district. But will the word get out, or will they just sit in front of their TV's and buy the BS?

These big money types and their love of charter schools are really driving on the ties and ballast. Their great hope is that charters will really out-perfom the regular schools and thus vindicate the concept, and also allow some charters to just go off and do their own thing with no scrutiny or real accountability. If there is anything to generalize about charter schools? Yes, it is scandal. The scandal is usually about finances, but can be educationally concerned too. So, more have failed, or are finally shut down by their chartering districts.

Charter schools, with a few exceptions, haven't taken that freedom and used it to soar. Instead, they stumble and struggle and try to sweet talk the parents into thinking the school is really trying, when it is not.


monaghan Oct. 9, 2012 @ 11:31 a.m.

I think most charters would LIKE to do a better job -- and sometimes they do -- than the faltering public schools they were formed to replace. Gompers is such a shining (and rare) example and its Principal Vince Riveroll is the charismatic turnaround specialist there. One characteristic all charters have in common is a high level of parent satisfaction and involvement -- more than at regular P.S. 12 down the block.

But generally, charters do not academically outperform regular public schools. And too often, they are involved in financial mismanagement, incompetence or chicanery. The highly successful High Tech charter schools which have solid leadership are underwritten by the same deep-pocket rich guys (and some others) who are funding the Ponders school board candidacy. Go figure.

We live in an era in which the business model is thought to be better than public-anything and so we have a fractured communal life. It is a great pity and our civic loss.


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 9, 2012 @ 1:38 p.m.

And too often, they are involved in financial mismanagement, incompetence or chicanery.

Very true- and the reason, as in all high levels of gov, the people in charge are chosen on cronyism and nepotism and never on merit , the more $$ involved the higher the degree of gov ineptitude.


Sign in to comment