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PAC Shielded $2.3 Million in Donations by L.A. Charter School Backers

Nearly $2.3 million from wealthy charter school advocates fueled the nation’s most expensive school board elections in Los Angeles last spring, but those donors and their contributions were never disclosed to voters until months after the election, a review of records shows.

The contributions — from philanthropist Eli Broad, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and others — were made to California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates, a political action committee in Sacramento, before the May 19 election. That group then forwarded those funds to a local committee, which poured the money into the campaigns of pro-charter-school candidates.

At stake were four seats on the seven-member Board of Education — and the direction of the school system, whose leaders have been in a pitched battle over the growth and oversight of charters in the nation’s second-largest district.