Indianapolis Public Schools board of commissioners candidate Hope Hampton has a significant lead in fundraising over her opponent Kristen Phair in the race to represent District 3.
Hampton, a small business owner who previously worked as a dean and school counselor, raised roughly $85,100 since Aug. 18, according to campaign finance reports due Oct. 21.
The majority of that funding, about $75,000, comes from political action committees for Stand for Children Indiana and RISE Indy — both organizations friendly to charter schools — and the Indy Chamber Business Advocacy Committee.
RISE Indy and Stand for Children Indiana both endorsed Hampton earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Phair — a former deputy state public defender who volunteers at George Washington Carver Montessori School 87, which her children attend — raised about $12,600.
Pre-election campaign finance reports were due on Oct. 21 at noon. They are the last comprehensive look at the candidates’ political donations before the election.
The two parents are competing in the sole contested IPS board race this year. District 3, which encompasses much of midtown Indianapolis, includes schools such as the Sidener Academy for High Ability Students and Shortridge High School.
The area could undergo significant changes under the district’s proposed reorganization plan, known as Rebuilding Stronger — including the closure of Floro Torrence School 83.
Both Hampton and Phair have said they would vote no on the current Rebuilding Strong plan, which could be approved by the current board as soon as next month. But they hold different views on the district’s innovation schools, many of which are charter schools that have more autonomy than the traditional public schools in the district.
Phair said she would like to see a pause in the growth of innovation schools, many of which are charter schools. Hampton, however, has argued that many innovation schools are increasing the number of students who graduate and pursue college degrees.
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PACs fund phone banking and ads
Most of the roughly $75,000 Hampton received from PACs were direct donations. Another roughly $33,300 came from in-kind contributions, including $21,500 for services such as digital ads and phone outreach from Stand for Children Indiana, $10,800 in consulting and campaign management from RISE Indy, and $1,000 for website and design services from the Indy Chamber.
Hampton’s other donors include Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili, who gave $775 total in direct and in-kind donations, according to finance reports. Brandon Brown, CEO of the Mind Trust organization that has fostered charter schools throughout Indianapolis, also gave Hampton $500.
Most of Phair’s donations have come from immediate family. She also received roughly $2,900 from ActBlue, an online fundraising platform for Democratic candidates that collects individual contributions.
Nicole Carey, an unopposed candidate running for District 5, raised about $9,300. She also reported receiving roughly $4,600 in in-kind consulting and management services from the RISE Indy PAC, and $1,000 in website design from the Indy Chamber committee. She also received another $1,500 direct contribution from the chamber’s PAC, while Brown also contributed $500 to her campaign.
At-large candidate Angelia Moore, who is also running unopposed, raised about $3,300, including $2,500 from the Indy Chamber PAC, and $1,050 in in-kind campaign consulting services from the RISE Indy PAC.
Amelia Pak-Harvey covers Indianapolis and Marion County schools for Chalkbeat Indiana. Contact Amelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.