Silicon Valley cash helping backers of two ballot measures

SACRAMENTO - Helped by hefty loans from Silicon Valley millionaires, backers of the voucher and school construction initiatives on the November ballot are leading opponents in fund raising so far.

Proposition 38 would give parents a $4,000 voucher to send their children to a private school. It is backed by Redwood City venture capitalist Tim Draper and opposed by Gov. Gray Davis and virtually every school group in the state.

Draper's committee, called, School Vouchers, filed a report this month with the secretary of state's office listing a total of $3.8 million raised through June 30. Almost all of that - $3.6 million - was loaned to the campaign by Draper.

The opponents, calling themselves No on 38, A Coalition of Parents, Educators, Business, Labor and Public Safety, raised $1.1 million. The California Federation of Teachers and the California School Employees Association each gave $250,000, the California Teachers Association gave $487,885 and the Association of California School Administrators gave $120,000.

Total spending on Proposition 38 is expected to exceed $40 million by the November election. Draper has pledged to match opponents with his own money and both sides started television ads last month.

The education establishment is on the opposite side of Proposition 39, which would lower the vote required for approval of local school bonds from two-thirds to 55 percent. School groups, as well as Davis, are strongly backing this measure, which is similar to Proposition 26, narrowly defeated in the March primary.

Supporters, known as Taxpayers for Accountability and Better Schools, a Coalition of Teachers, Parents, Seniors, Taxpayers and Business, raised $7.7 million through June 30.

Almost all of that money came in loans from several Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. John and Ann Doerr of Woodside loaned the campaign $4 million. Reed Hastings of Santa Cruz, Vinod Khosla of Menlo Park and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers of Menlo Park loaned $1 million each. John Doerr and Khosla are partners in KPCB, a venture capital company.

Hastings, a Davis appointee to the state Board of Education, is chairman of Inc. In addition, John Chambers, president of Cisco Systems, gave $250,000 to the campaign.

The same Silicon Valley millionaires also were heavy contributors to Proposition 26, as was the CTA. However, the CTA is expected to concentrate this fall on the anti-vouchers campaign.

The opponents to Proposition 39, called Don't Double Your Property Taxes, Vote No on Proposition 26, are part of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an anti-tax group founded by the late coauthor of Proposition 13 of 1978. They listed $1.7 million in contributions through June 30.

That included $570,000 transferred from the anti-26 campaign. Almost all of the other contributions were small amounts of a few hundred dollars. In March, backers of Proposition 26 raised about $25 million, while opponents collected $1.3 million.

The next reports on campaign contributions cover the period through Sept. 30 and are due at the secretary of state's office by Oct. 5.


On the Net: Look up campaign contributions at the secretary of state's Web site:


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment