Independent expenditure groups backed by well-funded charter school organizations are gearing up to play a role in battleground Senate districts, spending money that could bolster Republicans in what is expected to be a difficult election year.

The mobilizing began in late June and early July, when wealthy donors like hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Daniel Loeb, Wal-Mart heirs Jim and Alice Walton, and financier Roger Hertog donated heavily to committees backed by education reform groups.

In turn, the organizations have started to turn their attention to polling in key Senate districts and direct mail pieces, according to Board of Elections records.

Loeb, a staunch charter school supporter, contributed $1 million to New Yorkers For A Balanced Albany, a group that is backed by StudentsFirstNY. The Waltons contributed $100,000 to the same group as did Jones. Alice Walton individually gave $75,000 to Campaign For A Fair New York, which is backed by the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

The education groups have staffed up with consultants, research and undefined “polling costs” over the last several weeks.

The Campaign For A Fair New York has already spent $37,500 in the 60th Senate district to support Republican Chris Jacobs hopes to succeed retiring incumbent Democrat Marc Panepinto.

Another group supportive of the education investment tax credit, Invest In Education, has targeted a Democratic Senate primary in the Bronx.

In the Bronx, New Yorkers For Independent Action, an IE backed by Invest In Education, last month spent $351,219 on campaign literature backing Democrat Fernando Cabrera in his primary against Sen. Gustavo Rivera.

The group reported in June spending $212,752 on literature in support of Cabrera.