School & District Management

L.A. Board Race Hinges on Runoff

By Catherine Gewertz — March 13, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If the singer Tom Petty’s oft-cited lyrics are true, and the waiting is indeed the hardest part, then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa has a tough two months ahead.

Last week’s race for seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District board was a battle between the teachers’ union and the mayor for control of the seven-member panel, but its result was more of a whimper than a bang: Two of the four races won’t be resolved until a May 15 runoff election.

In those contests, candidates favored by the mayor were leading. In the two conclusive races, one of the mayorally backed candidates, Yolie Flores Aguilar, and one backed by the United Teachers Los Angeles, incumbent Marguerite Poindexter Lamotte, won outright.

Candidates spent more than $3 million on the March 6 race, much of it raised by the union and the mayor’s Partnership for Better Schools. At stake for the mayor is how much control he can gain over the board, especially since his legislative bid for broader authority in the district is tied up in court. (“Mayor of L.A. Appeals Ruling Against Law On School Governance,” Jan. 10, 2007.)

If Mr. Villaraigosa loses his court case, his best chance to have an impact on the city’s schools lies with his plan to run one or more clusters of low-performing schools, observers say.

“This is where having a majority on the board will make a difference,” said Jaime A. Regalado, the director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University-Los Angeles. “And the political calculus for him is he could run those clusters in parts of the city where he doesn’t do well politically.”

A.J. Duffy, the president of the teachers’ union, didn’t return calls about the election; neither did the mayor’s representatives. Several board members who received phone calls from Mr. Villaraigosa the night before the election said he had begun striking a more harmonious chord.

“He was offering what he called an olive branch, saying it was time for a clean slate,” said Marlene Canter, who as president of the board has bitterly opposed Mr. Villaraigosa’s bid for more control.

“Those were words I’ve been waiting to hear.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in California. See data on California’s public school system.

For more stories on this topic see Leadership & Management.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Close the Gender Gap: Getting Girls Excited about STEM
Join female STEM leaders as they discuss the importance of early cheerleaders, real life role models, and female networks of support.
Content provided by Logitech
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Your School Leadership Needs More Student Voice
When one Virginia principal moved from middle school to high school, he knew he would need to find new ways of soliciting student feedback.
S. Kambar Khoshaba
3 min read
Illustration of students holding speech bubbles.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management First Latina Selected to Lead National Principals Group
Raquel Martinez is a middle school principal in Pasco, Wash.
3 min read
Raquel Martinez, the principal of Stevens Middle School, in Pasco, Wash., was named president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She’s the first Latina to hold the position.
Raquel Martinez, the principal of Stevens Middle School, in Pasco, Wash., was named president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She’s the first Latina to hold the position.
Courtesy of the National Association of Secondary School Principals
School & District Management Four Things to Know From a State's Push to Switch Schools to Heat Pumps
Installing a heat pump is complex, but the payoff is well worth it, says an expert in Maine who's pushing their adoption in schools.
4 min read
Close up of a heat pump against a brick wall
E+/Getty
School & District Management 3 Things That Keep Superintendents in Their Jobs
Two experienced leaders say strong relationships with the community and school board make all the difference.
5 min read
Magnet attracting employee candidates represented by wooden dolls
iStock/Getty