JCPS teachers union, PAC spend nearly $300,000 to help re-elect - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS teachers union, PAC spend nearly $300,000 to help re-elect Brady to school board

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Chris Brady Chris Brady
A billboard for Chris Brady paid for by the Jefferson County Teachers Association A billboard for Chris Brady paid for by the Jefferson County Teachers Association

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  The JCPS teachers union and its political action committee have spent at least $291,005 to help Chris Brady keep his seat on the Jefferson County Board of Education, according to newly available election finance records.

The support includes radio and Internet ads, billboards, mailers and yard signs, according to independent expenditure reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Last week, WDRB reported that a group of wealthy Louisville business people called the Bluegrass Fund had spent at least $272,187 – including TV ads during the World Series – to promote one of Brady’s challengers, Fritz Hollenbach.

Brady had criticized the spending to defeat him as “crazy” and “obscene.”

Told of the teachers union’s spending on Monday, Brady said “wow” and suggested it was likely “a reaction” to counter the Bluegrass Fund.

“It is a crazy amount of money on both sides -- no doubt about it,” Brady said, adding that the teachers union and its PAC have not coordinated spending with his campaign.

Hollenbach declined to comment on Monday.

The reports filed with the state show the Jefferson County Teachers Association has directly spent $163,238 to support Brady, while the union’s PAC, Better Schools Kentucky, has spent $127,767, according to WDRB’s analysis.

Brent McKim, the teachers union’s president, did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Mary Thurman, a teacher who chairs Better Schools Kentucky, said last week that the PAC would not discuss its election activities until after the election on Tuesday.

The spending for Brady includes $108,508 for printed materials by a San Francisco company that makes political mailers; $57,750 to Current 360, a Louisville marketing firm, for radio and billboard ads; and $65,000 to Louisville company El Toro for “web advertising,” among other expenses, according to the reports.

The Brady-Hollenbach race, which also includes two other candidates, appears by far the most heated of the three school board contests on the ballot Tuesday.

But the union and its PAC have also spent $29,568 to support Benjamin Gies, an Oldham County history teacher who is running for the Jefferson County District 4 seat vacated by Chuck Haddaway. Gies’ opponent is Keisha Allen.

Neither the Bluegrass Fund nor the teachers groups have reported any spending to support or oppose JCPS Board Chairman David Jones or his challenger, Chris Kolb, in District 2.

Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce, solicited information from each of the candidates in all three school board races, which is available here: https://gliadvocacy.com/2016-jcps-school-board-elections/

RELATED: SUNDAY EDITION | Prominent business people pour money into Jefferson County school board races

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