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Charter group endorsing 3 (of 4) incumbents for LAUSD board

LA School Report | January 9, 2015

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Richard Vladovic

LAUSD Board President Richard Vladovic

The political arm of the California Charter Schools Association, CCSA Advocates, is endorsing three of the four incumbents seeking reelection to the LA Unified school board in March.

The exception is Bennett Kayser, a staunch charter opponent who has represented board District 5 since 2011. Kayser is so closely aligned with the teachers union, UTLA, that his political consultants, Burnside & Associates, list his political affiliation as UTLA.

Instead, the charter group’s endorsement for Kayser’s seat is Ref Rodriguez, one of the incumbent’s two challengers. The other is Andrew Thomas. Both challengers are educators.

In the other races, CCSA Advocates is supporting George McKenna, the District 1 member who is running unopposed; Tamar Galatzan, who is facing five challengers in District 3; and Richard Vladovic, the board president, who has two opponents for his District 7 seat.

“At this critical moment in public education when we are seeing the implementation of some of the greatest reforms in how we educate our students and fund our public schools, now is not the time for our elected leaders to blindly obstruct policies that work,” Gary Borden, Executive Director for CCSA Advocates, said in a press release.

“The challenger and three incumbents we’ve chosen to endorse represent the common
sense leadership that families in Los Angeles are counting on to provide equitable access to a quality public education, which includes the 130,000 students who attend 285 independent and affiliated charter schools in the district.”

Rodriguez has long been associated with charter schools. A co-founder of Partnerships To Uplift Communities, a charter school management organization, he currently serves as president and CEO of Partners for Developing Futures, a social investment fund dedicated to investing in leaders of color to start and grow high performing charter schools.

Thomas is a professor of education at the online Walden University and operator of a research company that consults with school districts, including LA Unified.

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