Newcomer school board candidate Kathy Jordan has a sizable lead in campaign contributions, having raised more than double each of the other five candidates, according to campaign finance documents released Thursday. She is followed by incumbent Ken Dauber and newcomer Stacey Ashlund.
The new documents, which include contributions made between July 1 and Sept. 22, show Jordan, a parent and staunch district critic, has received $36,970 in total contributions this year.
She received several sizable contributions, from $500 to $1,000, from parents who have been vocal on recent hot-button issues including Title IX reform, the reporting of weighted grade point averages and the district's sex-education curriculum. She also appears to have strong support from donors with Chinese surnames.
Melissa Chiwa Anderson, Jordan's campaign manager, contributed $1,000, her campaign finance report shows. Former school board member Camille Townsend gave Jordan's campaign $200.
Jordan has this year received more than $3,000 in non-monetary contributions -- food, ice, bottled water, pencils and the like -- from Carol Chan, whose occupation is listed as homemaker; Danny Epstein, a parent and software engineer; and Debra Wittenbrink, also listed as a homemaker, according to her campaign finance report. Chan has also donated about $1,500 to Jordan's campaign to date this year.
Jordan also loaned her campaign $250.
Jordan has spent just under $10,000 on advertising, campaign flyers, yard signs and other campaign literature. She has about $26,900 remaining in her campaign coffers.
Dauber, the current board president and only incumbent in the race, and special-education parent advocate Ashlund are neck and neck in fundraising. Ashlund has raised $15,312 to date this year and Dauber, $15,272.
Ashlund's are mostly smaller donations, several of which came from current and past Palo Alto elected officials. School board member Terry Godfrey, whose term expires in November, contributed $100, as did former school board member Heidi Emberling, City Councilman Tom Dubois and former mayor Nancy Shepherd. Mayor Liz Kniss gave Ashlund $250 and Gary Kremen, chair of the the Santa Clara Valley Water District board of directors, $125.
Julie Lythcott Haims, a Palo Alto parent and Stanford University's former dean of freshman and undergraduate advising, also gave $100 to Ashlund's campaign. Elaine Hahn, the former president of district fundraising organization Partners in Education (PiE), contributed $250.
Both Ashlund and candidate Shounak Dharap, who were endorsed by the Palo Alto teachers union, were bolstered by individual $1,250 donations from the California Teachers Association's Association for Better Citizenship, which provides funding to local and state candidates recommended by the teachers association.
A $1,000 in-kind monetary contribution came from Marcie McCue, who oversees marketing and communications for Palo Alto news aggregation company Flipboard. McCue hosted a kickoff party with food and drink for Ashlund, according to the finance report.
Ashlund also loaned her campaign $100. She has spent about $7,000, mostly on fees associated with her campaign website, local newspaper advertisements, lawn signs and other campaign literature.
Ashlund has a ending cash balance of about $8,300, the documents show.
Dauber raised about $10,600 during this reporting period. He received support from three of his current school board colleagues: Vice President Jennifer DiBrienza ($500), board member Todd Collins ($500) and Godfrey ($100). Former school board member Barbara Klausner, now the executive director of tutoring nonprofit DreamCatchers, also gave $500, as did Amado Padilla, a former board member and Stanford University Graduate School of Education professor. He also received $205 from Gary Kremen.
Dauber also saw $100 contributions from community leaders including Allan Seid, the founder of Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), and Jill Asher, the executive director of the Magical Bridge Foundation, which builds all-inclusive playgrounds.
Thomas Culbertson, a teacher at Juana Briones Elementary School, also gave Dauber $100.
Dauber has given his own campaign about $5,500 to date this year. He has spent about $7,000 in total this year on advertising, yard signs and other campaign paraphernalia, with an ending cash balance of about $5,300.
Dharap, an attorney, has raised $10,274 in total contributions this year and about $7,600 during this reporting period, his campaign finance document shows. Larger contributions came from the San Francisco firm he works for, The Arns Law Firm ($1,000), and his mother Chanda Dharap ($1,000).
Former school board member Dana Tom gave $100 to Dharap's campaign.
He received $555 in non-monetary contributions from SoulCycle Palo Alto, a bicycle spinning studio that gave a five-class package ($155), and Tracy Trimble, an attorney who provided wine for hosted events ($400).
Dharap spent about $6,200 in this time period, including on lawn signs, canvassing software and campaign events, with about $4,000 remaining in his coffers.
Candidate Alex Scharf, a recent graduate of the district, is far behind the other candidates with contributions totaling $774. His mother, Cindy Goral, contributed $500 and Ruth Gordon, a retiree, gave $100, his campaign finance report shows. His only expenditures are on law signs and stakes. His campaign finance report shows an ending cash balance of $378.
Candidate Christopher Boyd did not file a campaign finance statement for this time period.