When it comes to Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Amy Hanacek’s re-election campaign, she has a special interest of one: the Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA) – the district’s teachers union.
Help Organize for Public Education (H.O.P.E. – the CUEA campaign committee) has donated $15,000 to Hanacek’s re-election fund. Hanacek reported raising a total of $16,795 as of October 22 – meaning 89% of her campaign funds come from the teachers union whose contract she votes on.
Teacher union contributions are common on school board members’ campaign reports; the unions representing the teachers and the classified employees are among the few – albeit powerful – organized special interests in local school board races.
However, it’s alarming when a school board member is so completely dependent on the teachers union for her re-election. It’s cause for concern when an elected official is totally reliant on a single special interest for campaign funding – especially for a school board member, since teachers unions are the single most powerful political players in school district politics. Parents and voters can reasonably question whether that official’s decisions are made independent of undue union influence.