With Election Day less than two weeks away, Palo Alto Board of Education challenger Jennifer DiBrienza and incumbent Melissa Baten Caswell are leading the pack in raw campaign contributions, with Baten Caswell's fundraising surging during the most recent reporting period, according to campaign finance documents.
Though challenger Todd Collins' finance statement shows the most total funding to date out of the five candidates for school board -- $24,835 -- close to $8,000 of that he loaned to his campaign.
That includes a $2,875 loan made during this most recent reporting period, which covers Sept. 25 through Oct. 22. He also loaned $5,000 to his campaign during the first reporting period, which covered July 1 to Sept. 24.
Without the two loans, Collins has raised $16,960 -- several thousand dollars less than both DiBrienza and Baten Caswell.
DiBrienza also made a loan to her campaign: $999 during the previous reporting period. Not including the loan, she has raised $20,875. Baten Caswell has raised almost the same amount, $20,366, and made no loans to her campaign.
During the most recent reporting period, Baten Caswell's coffers swelled with an additional $7,552, the most raised in the month of the five board contenders. That includes a $2,500 contribution from Laurene Powell Jobs, a Palo Alto resident, education-reform leader and widow of Steven Jobs.
Collins raised an additional $1,500 during the most recent reporting period.
Current board President Heidi Emberling trails the pack in both money raised during this period and overall contributions, her finance statement shows. She raised an additional $1,205 and also loaned her campaign $3,000. To date, her campaign has received $11,552 in raw contributions.
Two state elected officials contributed to her campaign during this period: State Senator Jerry Hill and outgoing Assemblyman Rich Gordon. Both gave $100.
Baten Caswell said in a previous interview that the "totally unexpected" contribution from Powell Jobs would allow her to fully execute her campaign plan, which she hadn't anticipated being able to do. During the most recent reporting period, Baten Caswell spent $8,970, mostly on advertisements and mailings. Of the five candidates for school board, she has the most cash still left over — $11,395, according to her campaign finance documents.
Other notable recent contributors to Baten Caswell's campaign include Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who gave $150; former school-board member Barbara Klausner, who gave the same amount; Gary Kremen, Santa Clara Valley Water District board member, who gave $538. The largest contributions came from Powell Jobs as well as Palo Alto attorney and former school-board president Charlotte "Mandy" Lowell ($900) and Stanford University professor Marvina White ($400).
Like in the first reporting period, DiBrienza has spent nearly all of her cash, this time primarily on a printing service. DiBrienza's campaign finance documents show an ending cash balance of $1,403.
The current vice president of the school board, Terry Godfrey, and Allan and Mari Seid, Palo Altans and co-founders of the nonprofit Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), each gave $100 to DiBrienza's campaign. Larger $500 contributions came in from John Dawson, a Palo Alto resident and entrepreneur, and Palo Alto resident Jennifer Savage ($500).
Collins spent just over $17,000 this period, primarily on printing costs. His finance statement shows an ending cash balance of $2,374.
Both Godfrey and Allan Seid also contributed $100 to Collins' campaign during this period. Steven Chanin of Palo Alto, a programmer, gave the largest amount, $1,000.
Godfrey also gave $100 to Baten Caswell's campaign during the previous reporting period. Outgoing trustee Camille Townsend also gave the same amount to her colleagues, Baten Caswell and Emberling.
Emberling has spent most of her dollars on advertising and printing, with $1,449 left in her campaign coffers.
Candidate Jay Cabrera, who has committed to running a small-contributions campaign, is not accepting donations over $100. He has not filed campaign finance statements.
To view the full campaign finance statements, visit the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters' website.
The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture ongoing coverage of the school-board election. To view it, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.