H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt.
H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

With about two weeks remaining before the May 4 elections, campaign finance disclosures reveal several major education advocates and supporters have given significant amounts of money to candidates in San Antonio Independent School District school board races.

The reports also revealed which candidates have invested the most money in their own races.

Charles Butt, the chairman and CEO of H-E-B and a major education philanthropist, donated $5,000 to board incumbent Christina Martinez through a political action committee and $500 to Board President Patti Radle through a personal contribution, according to campaign finance reports filed 30 days out from the elections.

The district’s teachers union, the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, donated to candidates Alicia Monica Perry, Janell Rubio, and Eduardo Torres through in-kind donations such as printing services. The Alliance also has endorsed all three candidates. Members of the Alliance backed the endorsed candidates through individual donations.

Candidates in races including Martinez (District 6) and Radle (District 5) have spent the most money on their campaigns.

The following is a breakdown of how campaign money has been distributed in individual races.

District 2

In the race for District 2’s open seat, SAISD master teacher Christopher Green reported receiving the most campaign contributions. He collected $1,525 in political contributions and loaned his campaign more than $4,600 from his personal funds.

Green received a $100 contribution from former District 2 trustee candidate Jason Mims. He also received a $1,000 donation from Leadership for Educational Equity – Texas PAC. Leadership for Educational Equity is a nonpartisan nonprofit leadership development organization that focuses on ending educational inequity. The PAC has made donations to several other candidates throughout Texas in the last three months, including candidates for school board in Alvin and Dallas ISDs.

Green reported having close to $4,000 in reserves for the remainder of his campaign.

Alicia Monica Perry, the Alliance-backed candidate, reported receiving $500 over the last two months. She also reported receiving non-monetary support from the Alliance PAC, which footed the bill for her printing materials and helped her with canvassing. Perry reported having $600 on hand for future costs.

Darrell Boyce collected $1,110 in campaign contributions and spent all but $2.27 of it on expenses including advertising and food for prayer breakfasts and block walkers.

Royce Sullivan reported political contributions of $50 in the last three months, but did not report the source of the money.

District 5

Radle, who received close to $9,000 in political contributions in the last three months, is supported by a number of well-known names in San Antonio, including Butt, philanthropist Gordon Hartman, former Mayor Phil Hardberger, and poet Carmen Tafolla.

The current board president reported having more than $15,000 in reserves, having spent less than $4,000 on both campaign and non-campaign expenses.

Janell Rubio, Radle’s challenger endorsed by the Alliance, received $4,253 in the last two months. Part of this total is a loan Rubio received of almost $2,000 from Katy Bravenec, an Alliance organizer. Rubio reported more than $1,600 in contributions on hand.

District 6

The majority of Martinez’s $6,450 contributions from the last three months come from one source, a $5,000 donation from the San Antonio Kids First political action committee. Butt was the sole contributor to the PAC in 2018, donating $10,000.

In the past, the PAC supported SAISD trustees Art Valdez and Debra Guerrero in their successful campaigns. Last year, the PAC donated to its first candidates outside of SAISD when it contributed to the campaigns of three South San Antonio ISD incumbents up for re-election. None of the South San candidates won.

Martinez also received several individual donations, including a $100 donation from Radle. She has about $4,600 on hand for future expenses.

District 6 candidate Chris Castro, a former SAISD principal and current NEISD school administrator, is working with the second biggest budget in the District 6 race. Castro received $5,838 in contributions over the last three months. He has spent close to $6,000 on campaign expenses, but maintains about $3,000.

Over the last 2 1/2 months, Eduardo Torres, the Alliance-backed candidate in the District 6 race, received less than $170. He has spent close to $1,000 on his campaign, with most of the money coming from his personal funds. Torres maintains just under $100 in contributions for other expenses.

The next campaign finance report is due eight days before the election.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.