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Brown’s Vergara appeal not so hard to understand

LA School Report | September 2, 2014



gov_jerry_brown

Governor Jerry Brown

While editorial boards at most of California’s major newspapers all reacted favorably to Judge Rolf Treu’s ruling in Vergara vs. California, and a USC poll showed that a strong majority of California voters oppose the state’s tenure and layoff policies for public school teachers that the court ruling struck down, Gov. Jerry Brown nonetheless appealed the decision.

Was it so surprising that he did?

Not necessarily, from the point of view of his campaign contributions for reelection.

Teacher unions, including those who joined Vergara as defendants, have been supportive of Brown’s effort to win another four-year term.

The records show that they contributed nearly $114,000 to his campaign this year, led by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a national union, and the California Teachers Association (CTA), each of which gave him $54,400 early in the year. The amount represents a maximum-allowed contribution of $27,200 for the primary and the the general election.

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) kicked in $5,000, and the California School Employees Association, the largest school support union in the country, contributed $27,200.

The CFT and CTA joined the state as Vergara defendants.

But only a cynic would conclude that sizable campaign contributions would directly influence a policy decision. After all, Brown cited three legally-based reasons for his appeal:

  • Major decisions affecting the state “must be reviewed by a higher court.”
  • The plaintiffs dismissed “key parties” from the case before trial for “reasons that are unclear or unexplained.”
  • The trial court did not include “a detailed statement of the factual and legal bases for its ruling.”

The state records show neither union nor charter school support for Brown’s Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari.

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