Cosmetics tycoon Ron Lauder is bankrolling a multimillion-dollar effort to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio from eliminating the admissions test to the city’s top high schools, sources told The Post on Monday.
The billionaire Clinique chairman — a 1961 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science — is prepared to spend at least “seven figures” of his personal fortune on TV commercials and other efforts to block de Blasio’s controversial proposal, sources said.
The campaign will target Albany lawmakers, whom the mayor needs to amend a 1971 state law that created the Specialized High School Admission Test — and may even include attack ads against de Blasio, one source said.
In an email sent to his friends Monday morning — and obtained by The Post — Lauder said he was “joining a new effort called the Education Equity Campaign to achieve the goal of creating new Specialized High Schools” and “will be helping this campaign however I can.”
“It’s my firm belief that we should be doubling the capacity of our specialized high schools by adding two new schools in each borough, guaranteeing free SHSAT prep for every New York City middle school student and ensuring that students in every school have access to a local Gifted and Talented program from an early age,” he wrote.
“With these reforms, we could once again make our city’s education system second to none.”
During the 1990s, Lauder spent more than $4 million successfully promoting the imposition of term limits on the city’s elected officials.
Former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons, who graduated at age 16 from John Adams High School in Queens, is also helping fund the Education Equity Campaign, sources said.
The group’s efforts are being spearheaded by political strategist Bradley Tusk, who in 2015 helped Uber defeat de Blasio’s plan to limit the company’s expansion.
Tusk fired the first shot Monday morning with a press release announcing that Kirsten John Foy, a former regional director for Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, was among the founding members of the Education Equity Campaign.
“As a father, a lifelong civil rights activist, and a graduate of Brooklyn Tech, I’m ready to fight like hell for greater diversity at these schools,” Foy said in a statement.
“But Mayor de Blasio’s plan is nothing more than a politically expedient shortcut that would do nothing to repair the core inequities in our city’s public education system — I reject that line of thinking.”
“If we give our children the proper tools and the proper preparation, they will succeed,” Foy added.
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