School board elections, which have traditionally been local contests, are being targeted by a handful of national conservative groups with support from a Republican megadonor eager to shape how race and gender identity are handled in classrooms nationwide, Politico reported on Monday.
''If you don't have people at the local level who are cutting this out at schools, you're not going to get that out,'' said Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, a super PAC based in Arlington, Virginia.
The interest in these school board races illustrates how conservatives are increasingly channeling their resources toward education. In some states, school boards can have a significant influence in shaping curriculum.
Illustrative of these efforts is the New York-based 1776 Project PAC, which has not only endorsed more than 100 school board candidates this year in states such as Florida, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania, but invested significant funds in helping them get elected.
In Florida alone, the 1776 PAC endorsed 49 candidates in 21 counties.
When 35 candidates endorsed by 1776 won their elections outright last month, the group began receiving attention from such prominent conservatives as Ben Shapiro, and more than 300 new school board candidates have reportedly requested endorsement, according to Politico.
Some conservatives have pushed for restrictions on transgender students, including athletes, and say that children are too young to discuss the subject of gender identity.
Democrats and some school officials, have resisted such policies, including Florida's law that bars teachers from leading classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The 1776 PAC is backed by a variety of donors, including many contributions from individuals nationwide.
It also received a $900,000 donation in March from Restoration PAC, funded heavily by GOP billionaire Richard Uihlein, according to FEC filings. This donation accounted for approximately 35% of the PAC's donations from the past two years.
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