Outside spending is dominating campaigns for three seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education, surpassing $4.4 million through Friday.
The outcome of Tuesday's primary is expected to shape the path of improvement efforts in the nation's second-largest school system.
The costliest race is in District 4, which spans the Westside and the western San Fernando Valley. There, one-term incumbent and former teacher Steve Zimmer faces parent and attorney Kate Anderson.
The pro-Anderson and anti-Zimmer effort has spent more than $1.1 million. Also, Anderson's campaign has raised more than $250,000.
Conversely, the pro-Zimmer and anti-Anderson independent campaign has spent more than $950,000. Zimmer's campaign has collected $82,406.
Zimmer benefits from an independent campaign by employee unions and the L.A. County Federation of Labor. Anderson is backed by a coalition of wealthy donors, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and advocates for independently managed charter schools.
The coalition is the biggest money player, having assembled more than $3.2 million.
Spending in the other two races reflects campaign strategies of the coalition and the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles.
In District 2, which stretches outward from downtown, the coalition supports two-term incumbent Monica Garcia. She is the mayor's closest ally on the school board and a steadfast supporter of L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy.