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Who Will The Coalition Pick For District 6?

Hillel Aron | December 19, 2012

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The Coalition for School Reform has a Board. It has a website, albeit one left over from 2011.  It has a campaign consultant team.  Now all it needs are candidates.

Although the Coalition won’t formally announce its slate of candidates until January, its picks are widely expected to include school board President Monica Garcia in District 2, which covers East Los Angeles, and challenger Kate Anderson, who’s running against board member Steve Zimmer in the Westside’s District 4.

The only real question is who the Coalition will support in the East Valley’s District 6 — Antonio Sanchez, Iris Zuniga, or someone else?

Coalition for School Reform co-chair Virgil Roberts

Civil rights attorney Virgil Roberts, co-chair of the Coalition, told  LA School Report that members are soliciting “feedback from a wide range of people that are involved in the school reform movement” including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Mayor Richard Riordan, Judy Burton of Alliance College-Ready SchoolsProfessor William Ouchi and Los Angeles Education Partnership founder Peggy Funkhouser.

The two most likely possibilities in District 6 are middle-of-the-road, consensus-building Antonio Sanchez, who has been endorsed by both UTLA and SEIU, and charter school leader Iris Zuniga,

Choosing Sanchez could avoid a direct battle with UTLA, which has endorsed every candidate except Zuniga. Choosing Zuniga would make for a more combative race — although that would have the possible upside of diverting UTLA resources from the other two races. One last possibility is that the Coalition will simply sit out the first round and wait until the runoff to get involved.
Who the Coalition chooses in District 6 could be a window into which groups within the Coalition have the most sway. Antonio Sanchez used to work for Mayor Villaraigosa, so picking Sanchez would mean the Mayor is still calling the shots. Picking Zuniga, on the other hand, would be a sign of charter schools’ growing influence.

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