Charter school campaign donation haunting state education secretary, Baker

Salem News


BOSTON – One of Gov. Charlie Baker’s highest profile defeats since taking office almost three years ago came at the hands of voters who last fall rejected a ballot question to expand access to charter schools.

But if the governor was hoping to put the episode behind him, Democrat Jay Gonzalez is determined not to let him.

 Gonzalez, one of three Democrats running for his party’s nomination for governor next year, appeared before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday to directly confront Education Secretary Jim Peyser on what role he may have played in the failed ballot campaign.

The new life being breathed into the charter school issue comes a month after the Office of Campaign and Political Finance negotiated the largest settlement in state history – $426,466 – with the New York-based non-profit Families for Excellent Schools over allegations that it participated in an illegal scheme to conceal the identities of major donors to the ballot campaign.

Gonzalez previously called on Board of Education Chairman Paul Sagan to resign following disclosures as a result of the OCPF settlement that Sagan had given $500,000 in previously unknown contributions to Families for Excellent Schools.

“Ultimately the public deserves public leaders who are being transparent about how they’re engaging in their interests, and in this case it’s about educating our kids, and they deserve public leaders who they can have confidence are following all the rules and there’s enough out there that raises real questions and concerns about Secretary Peyser’s involvement,” Gonzalez told the News Service.

Read More