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Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Politics, Science & Technology | 3 comments

Washington State Charter Schools Initiative Bankrolled By Tech Millionaires

Coming to the Washington state ballot in November is a measure, Initiative 1240, asking voters to allocate public tax revenues to alternative schools. These “charter schools” are exempt from some government rules and regulations and have greater flexibility in curriculum and teaching methods.

Actually, we should say coming again to the ballot.

Washington state voted down charter school ballot measures in 1996, 2000, and 2004. But a handful of wealthy individuals, committed to charter schools, are funding I-1240.

Of the $2.3 million raised by the “Yes on I-1240” campaign as of the July 6 signature filing deadline to get the initiative on the ballot, the state’s Public Disclosure Commission reports $1.6 million came from seven families tied to Microsoft. Add one Amazon family to this tech millionaires club, and the total is $2.1 million.

Microsoft executives Bill Gates and Paul Allen have been major supporters of this family of ballot measures to the tune of more than $5 million.

Other heavy hitters have joined the cause since the filing deadline.

Specifically, Alice Walton of the Walmart family donated $600,000 while Seattle philanthropists Bruce and Jolene McCaw ponied up $100,000. The Secretary of State’s office certified the initiative for the November ballot Wednesday, by which time the total raised was $3.2 million.

Read more at Seattle Times Election Eye.