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Galatzan doubles down in effort to block nominee to bond panel

Vanessa Romo | June 5, 2014

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Stuart Magruder, Architect on LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee

Stuart Magruder, Architect on LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee

LA Unified school board member Tamar Galatzan is not going down quietly when it comes to Stuart Magruder, a staunch opponent of the district’s $1 billion iPad program whom the board removed from the Bond Oversight Committee last month.

Magruder was the representative of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Galatzan had opposed his renomination to the committee, and now that board member Bennett Kayser is introducing a resolution next week to reappoint him to another two-year term, Galatzan is not backing down.

“Nothing has changed,” she told LA School Report. “I talked with General Counsel, I looked at the Memorandum of Understanding and the state law, and it’s very clear that the appointment is with the Board of Education.”

While the committee’s legal counsel has said the board agreed in 2002 not to interfere with committee appointments, LA Unified’s chief lawyer, David Holmquist, has sided with Galatzan, saying the board has the right to intercede.

The board effectively blocked Magruder’s reappointment through an effort led by Galatzan, leaving an empty seat on the 15 member BOC, an independent panel that oversees bond money spending for school construction and repairs — and iPads.

But in a letter to board president Richard Vladovic days after the vote, Nicci Solomons, Executive Director of AIA, reminded the district of the existing contract between the LA Unified and the BOC, that “while the formal appointment would be done by the board as a ‘receive and file,’ the board would faithfully appoint the nominee of each stakeholder.”

Solomons “respectfully” resubmitted Magruder as AIA’s chosen representative on the committee.

Galatzan’s response: “That’s ludicrous, it’s a illogical…and it violates state law to assign the appointment to another agency.”

She contends the campaign against Magruder, whom she says she has never met, is not against him personally. Rather, it represents her broader opposition to the BOC’s assuming responsibilities outside its purview.

“This is about the proper role of the Bond Oversight Committee in relationship to the Board of Education… and individual committee members are substituting personal judgment for legal analysis. They’re second-guessing decisions made at school sites by teachers and principals,” she said.

Tom Rubin, a consultant for the bond panel told the LA Times, the district has never blocked the appointment of a nominee by an outside group until now.

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