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District 6 Candidate Says He’s “Honest Broker” LAUSD Needs

Karen Jordan | January 29, 2013

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District 6 candidate Antonio Sanchez  is vowing to be a new, different kind of School Board member.

Candidate Antonio Sanchez via Coalition for School Reform website

In his second interview with LA School Report, Sanchez listed some fairly standard policy priorities — lowering dropout rates and increasing resources – but also emphasized his youth, enthusiasm, and honesty.

Sanchez argues that these attributes are among the traits that have attracted endorsements and funding from such diverse entities as SEIU, the Coalition for School Reform and the United Teachers of Los Angeles.

“[I’m] honest and sincere with everyone,” Sanchez says.  Everyone “know[s] I am an honest broker who will make sure they are included as we move forward.”

Sanchez grew up in Pacoima and says he sees it as his mission to ensure all students in LAUSD have the same opportunities he has been afforded.

“Many of the students and I share a similar background – first time college students, immigrant parents, and limited resources,” says Sanchez. “I want every LAUSD high school student to graduate and be prepared to go to a university, enroll in a vocational program, or enter the workforce.”

Sanchez  graduated from  State University, Northridge and has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA, but he says he’s not so far out of school that he can’t relate to students and their young parents.

“I am much closer to the age of the students than the other School Board members, so naturally, I will add new energy and a different perspective.”

But it’s his ability to relate to diverse stakeholders and opinionated Board Members that is most important, according to Sanchez.

He names “lack of cooperation” among LAUSD stakeholders as a key problem holding LAUSD back. And he claims that he can help make things better.

“My ability to reach out and work with leaders and organizations that have publicly fought and disagreed is unique,” Sanchez says.

In a previous interview, Sanchez claimed that he was differently positioned to broker agreements was different from the most recent School Board candidate who hoped to build bridges, District 2 incumbent Steve Zimmer.

One approach he favors is creating more working groups among different stakeholders — the teachers union and the Coalition for School Reform, for example.

“The students have more to benefit if we all share best practices and work together. We all want what’s best for the students, let’s work together to help them.”

Another asset in his arsenal is the “sense of urgency” he plans to bring to the school board. “We can’t wait until the next academic year to see improvements,” he says.

Like others, Sanchez cites the importance of parent involvement, increased resources for schools, and lowering the dropout rate. He helped work on the Proposition 30 campaign last year, and from that experience got a first-hand sense of how important resources are and how concerned taxpayers are that the funding wouldn’t go to our schools.

“California voters agreed to tax themselves and invest in our schools, [and] Sacramento must honor their promise and invest in our schools,” says Sanchez.  “I will advocate for the Prop. 30 funds to go where they’re supposed to go.”

Sanchez seems determined to fight for the future while not forgetting his past.

“Last week I spoke to a parent in Pacoima who lives in the same neighborhood I grew up in,” Sanchez says. “She was holding back tears when she told me her daughter graduated from a local elementary school and reads at a third grade level. This experience brought chills down my spine.”

Previous posts: Labor Groups Spend for Garcia & SanchezReform Coalition Picks Garcia, Anderson & SanchezSEIU Endorses Garcia, Zimmer and SanchezAntonio Sanchez, Consensus Candidate?County Fed Union Endorses Board CandidatesContribution Roundup: Who’s Giving to Whom?, Checking Out the Campaign Flyers

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