Kelly Gonez will trade the classroom for the boardroom as she jumps full time into work to ‘change lives’
At just 28, Kelly Gonez has gone from being an education policy adviser for the Obama administration to middle school math teacher to the youngest member of the LA Unified school board. She won the May 16 runoff for the District 6 seat with less than 1,000 votes, obtaining 16,961 votes, or 51.5 percent, to Imelda Padilla’s...
By Esmeralda Fabián Romero | June 1, 2017
More voters turned out for school board than city elections
*UPDATED More people turned in ballots for the two LA Unified school board seats in the May 16 runoff than for either of the city council elections that day or Amendment C, the citywide ballot issue on police discipline. In the final tally, released Friday by the LA City Clerk’s Office, 11.35 percent of the voters showed up...
By Mike Szymanski | May 30, 2017
Parent power: The secret weapon that swept in change for public education in Los Angeles
Many point to record outside spending for the vote this month that brought a new pro-reform majority to the LA Unified school board. But what really made the difference is a groundswell of parent power as more than 2,500 parents were galvanized to usher in change. Hundreds of parents in the predominantly Latino east San Fernando...
By Esmeralda Fabián Romero | May 25, 2017
Stepping up the fight: Los Angeles’ teachers union in the aftermath of its major election defeat
*UPDATED The teachers union in Los Angeles — one of the largest local teachers unions in the nation — suffered a huge loss in last week’s school board election, but observers say it will only cause union leadership to fight harder. Ultimately, that could mean United Teachers Los Angeles will bolster efforts to unionize charter...
By Sarah Favot and Mike Szymanski | May 24, 2017
All signs point to Ref Rodriguez as LAUSD’s next school board president
With a new majority coming to the LA Unified school board, one of the first tasks will be to select the next board president, and all signs point to relative newcomer Ref Rodriguez taking over the top spot. The position is largely ceremonial, but it puts a face on the second-largest school district in the...
By Mike Szymanski | May 22, 2017
Zimmer’s support for a ‘charter killer’ bill factored into his defeat, colleagues say
Steve Zimmer’s vote in April to direct LA Unified to support a state bill dubbed a “charter killer” factored into the board president’s defeat at the polls this week, his board colleagues say. The contentious 4-3 vote supported State Bill 808 authored by Sen. Tony Mendoza, which allowed school districts to reject public independent charter schools if they...
By Mike Szymanski | May 19, 2017
What the school board shift could mean for Michelle King, who was just named Superintendent of the Year
Tuesday’s election of two pro-reform school board members could mean a whole new set of challenges for LA Unified Superintendent Michelle King. The board will shift in July from a pro-union majority to one backed by charter school supporters, and some observers think that could present difficulties for King, as the superintendent is hired and fired...
By Mike Szymanski | May 18, 2017
Election night surprise: Why Steve Zimmer conceded with only absentee ballot results
Even before any results were announced from ballots cast Tuesday at the polls, Steve Zimmer stood outside a deli in Mar Vista and conceded defeat before heading inside to hug his friends and supporters. At that point, only absentee ballots had been counted, but more than 60 percent were against him, and he didn’t see...
By Mike Szymanski | May 17, 2017
‘Respect parents’ choices’ — Nick Melvoin lays out his priorities for Los Angeles schools
*UPDATED In his first interview after declaring victory in the LA Unified school board election, Nick Melvoin vowed to protect parents’ choices in education and to move the district beyond the charter school versus traditional school narrative. “I would like the first thing we try to tackle to be moving beyond this what we call...
By Sarah Favot | May 17, 2017
Reformers sweep LAUSD school board elections
*UPDATED Reform-backed candidates swept the LA Unified school board election Tuesday night, unseating the board president and swinging the balance of the board toward a reform majority for the first time since 2010, according to unofficial election results. Steve Zimmer, the board president who was running for his third and final term, conceded before any results...
By Sarah Favot | May 17, 2017