According to a story in yesterday's N.Y. Post, Gates funneled about $4 million to the pro-mayoral-control forces during the recent debate in the state legislature. When questioned by the Post, a Gates spokesperson confirmed the donation and the approximate size.
Gates money paid for Learn-NY's extensive public-relations, media and lobbying efforts in Albany and New York City. The effort include advertisements, parent organizing and canvassing -- including a five-borough bus tour and trips to the state capital. Gates gave the money from his personal pocket -- not from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has pumped $150 million into the city to develop small schools.
It was N.Y.'s Bloomberg-appointed Chancellor, Joel Klein, who, as a federal prosecutor, helped settle the Justice Dept.'s multi-billion anti-trust suit that could have destroyed Gates's company, Microsoft.
According to the Post:
He made it clear that he liked having city CEOs in charge of education decision-making and accountable for results. "You want to allow for experimentation. The cities where our foundation has put the most money is where there is a single person responsible. In New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, the mayor has the responsibility for the school system," Gates said during a CNN appearance.
Another billionaire philanthropist -- Eli Broad, a proponent of charter schools -- also gave millions to Learn-NY.