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In unusual move, Klein and Mulgrew jump into East Side race

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein hasn’t weighed in on a state political race in several years, but he’s doing so now.

According to the New York State Board of Elections website, Klein gave $1,000 last month to Upper East Side Assemblyman Jonathan Bing. The chancellor’s wife, Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president, also gave Bing $1,000.

The chancellor and his wife live in Bing’s district, where he’s being challenged by Gregg Lundahl, a government teacher at Washington Irving High School. And it can only have helped Bing’s relationship with Klein that he introduced a bill last spring to eliminate seniority-based layoffs for teachers. At the time, teacher layoffs seemed inevitable to the Department of Education and Klein was pushing for an end to the policy that lays off the newest teachers first.

Board of Regents Chair Merryl Tisch also gave Bing’s campaign $1,000, as did Democrats for Education Reform, a group that lobbies for more charter schools and against seniority policies. John Petry, who sits on the board of the Success Charter Network, gave $1,500 to Bing’s campaign in May.

If Bing’s contribution list is full of charter school supporters and people who oppose seniority, Lundahl’s contribution list reads like a who’s-who of the United Federation of Teachers.

In June, the union’s political action committee gave him $3,800; union lawyer Carol Gerstl gave $95.50; secretary Michael Mendel gave $100; treasurer Mel Aaronson gave $100; assistant secretary Robert Astrowsky gave $95.50; vice president for high schools Leo Casey gave $238.75. In July, union president Michael Mulgrew gave Lundahl $477.50. Mulgrew appears not to have donated to a state-wide race in several years.

Recently, Tisch has also given $1,000 to attorney general candidate Eric Schneiderman’s campaign.

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