MADISON, Wis. — Rose Fernandez, described in a recent newspaper article as “a nurse by training who has never held an education job,” received $1,350 in contributions from top personnel at the Virginia-based K12, Inc., the for-profit company expected to reap $5 million in Wisconsin taxpayer funds to administer virtual schools – a number which would grow if Fernandez is able to expand the program as Secretary of the Department of Public Instruction.
In 2008 K12, Inc. also gave the Wisconsin Institute for Leadership Political Fund its only contribution, $50,000. WIL’s then-executive director Brian Fraley, serves as Fernandez’s campaign manager.
“The forces which want to privatize our public schools system are sending in their dollars to benefit Rose Fernandez and her anti-public school agenda,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “We should not privatize public education and our education tax dollars should not be shipped to Rose Fernandez’s out-of-state donors.”
In the latest campaign finance report released yesterday, Fernandez’s report shows a total of $1,350 in contributions from employees of K12, Inc. Among the contributions was $1,000 from Bryan Flood, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs. Flood has also been a donor to Rep. Brett Davis (R-Monroe), author of pro-K12, Inc. legislation. The K12, Inc. contributions to Fernandez’s campaign include:
* $1,000 from Bryan Flood, 3/20/09
* $100 from Jeff Kwitowski, K12, Inc. public relations staffer, 3/20/09
* $100 from Tom Bolvin, K12, Inc. government affairs worker, 2/19/09
* $150 from Allison Cleveland, K12, Inc. business staffer, 2/20/09
At www.FernandezFiveMillion.com, One Wisconsin Now previously detailed the network of lobbyists, non-profit organizations, elected officials and even the law-breaking All Children Matter working in concert to get Wisconsin public education tax dollars into the hands of for-profit companies like the Virginia-based K12, Inc.
The Virginia-based K12, Inc. was the for-profit company contracted to create curriculum for the Wisconsin Virtual Academy. In its prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, K12, Inc. anticipated $5 million in 2008 revenues from Wisconsin taxpayers. [K12, Inc. SEC Prospectus, 12/12/07, pg. 69]
“We pay our taxes so that our children can get the best public education available in the nation,” said Ross. “Not one dime of our kids’ funds should go to pad the bank accounts of stockholders and executives of for-profit companies.”
The Fernandez network also includes All Children Matter donor George Mitchell, who made two $1,000 contributions to Fernandez’s campaign in February. Mitchell and his wife Susan have given All Children Matter over $64,000. ACM founder DeVos is an investor in and former member of the K12, Inc. board of directors.
In November 2006, the Wisconsin Elections Board found ACM violated state campaign finance law. ACM’s attorneys are now the two top lieutenants to Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen. ACM was also leveled with a $5.2 million fine by the Ohio Elections Commission in 2008 for illegally funneling $870,000 into Ohio campaigns. All Children Matter spent $900,000 attacking Wisconsin legislative Democratic candidates in 2008 with a series of notorious racist appeals surrounding the “Healthy Wisconsin” universal health care plan.