Education
12:48 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Bluegrass Fund Begins Spending in JCPS District 4 Board Race

The political action committee created to support school board candidates separate from the Jefferson County Teachers Association is showing signs of spending through mailers, just two weeks before the election. 

The Bluegrass Fund was created this year to campaign for candidates separate from those backed by the teachers union’s PAC called Better Schools Kentucky. It’s the only significant financial competitor the union has seen in the past decade.

But officials with the Bluegrass Fund are quietly strategizing and campaigning these last two weeks including mailers recently sent in support of District 4 candidate Chuck Haddaway.

Five candidates are seeking to replace retiring board member Joe Hardesty in southwestern Jefferson County’s District 4.

The mailers sent by the Bluegrass Fund supporting Haddaway pit that PAC’s campaign against Lloyd “Chip” White, who is supported by Better Schools Kentucky.

Under law, no candidate can communicate or collaborate in the campaigns but PAC’s have become a powerful way to get candidates elected.

So far this year, the Bluegrass Fund has raised around $67,000, according to the latest Kentucky Registry of Election Finance report. While that amount is significant, it’s also dwarfed by the amount raised by Better Schools Kentucky, which is over $300,000.

Haddaway and White both support recent changes to the student assignment plan, but recognize it should be monitored.

In a WFPL debate, Haddaway said he understands the cuts to the state budget means less per student spending, but he would have considered more administrative cuts before raising taxes.  White said he would need more information before deciding to raise taxes.

Other candidates vying for District 7 include Chester Flake, Missy Smith and Eric Bullock.

Bluegrass Fund officials wouldn’t comment for this story.

As WFPL reported earlier this month, Better Schools Kentucky has spent at least $70,000 on billboards and radio advertisement. 

To give some sense of how much the JCTA’s PAC has spent in past elections here are totals from the last three elections cycles according to documents from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

2006 

  • Ann Elmore: $93,537
  • Carole Haddad: $52,780
  • Linda Duncan: $108,506
  • Debbie Wesslund: $105,498

2008

  • Steve Imhoff: $186,808
  • Larry Hujo: $202,803

2010

  • Diane Porter: $49,696
  • David Toborowsky: $114,541