Head of Massachusetts Education Board Gave $100K to Pro-Charter Group

Opponents of charter expansion are calling for his resignation.

Sagan, right, and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo via AP

Sagan, right, and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo via AP

Paul Sagan, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, made a $100,000 donation to a pro-charter group that has expansion opponents clamoring for his removal.

The former Akamai CEO made a six-figure contribution to the Campaign for Fair Access to Quality Public Schools, which supports the November ballot question that would allow a dozen more charter schools in Massachusetts annually. Gov. Charlie Baker, a vocal advocate of charter school expansion, appointed Sagan in 2015.

Sagan left Akamai for the Cambridge venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners in 2013. The following year, as chairman of Massachusetts Business Leaders for Charter Schools, Sagan was one of nearly 150 who signed a letter urging the state’s Joint Committee on Education to pass legislation lifting the cap on charter school expansion.

Sagan’s donation, detailed in the most recent Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) reports, has members of the anti-charter group Save Our Public Schools calling for his resignation.

“Common sense tells you that $100,000 impairs anyone’s judgement and impartiality,” chair Juan Cofield said in a statement Monday. “How can Sagan be trusted to properly regulate charter schools when he’s so invested in expanding them? The chairman needs to step down immediately.”

But in a statement to WBUR, Sagan affirmed he’s staying put.

“I am a dedicated supporter of all of our public schools, district, public charter and turnaround,” Sagan said. “It is an honor to serve as Chairman of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and I’m thrilled to work toward maintaining Massachusetts’s position as a national leader in public education.”


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