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Maria Brenes and Kelly Gonez lead in tight LA school board races

Joshua Bay | November 9, 2022

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Maria Brenes and Kelly Gonez (

Community group leader Maria Brenes and school board president Kelly Gonez lead in a close race for two open spots on the Los Angeles Board of Education.

Brenes, leading with a 50.80% voter approval, is against education researcher Rocío Rivas to represent school district 2 – in the Eastside neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Gonez, leading with a 50.28% voter approval, is against long-time teacher Marvin Rodríguez to represent school district 6 – covering the East San Fernando Valley.

All four candidates have similar views, particularly around pandemic setbacks and achievement gaps for Black and Latino students.

But, if outcomes hold, pro-charter advocates Brenes and Gonez will alter the priorities of the governing board for the nation’s second largest school district.

Brenes, executive director for Boyle Heights-based advocacy group Inner City Struggle, could bring increased pressure to shift more funding to schools with the largest percentage of high-need students – compared to Rivas who supports stopping charter school growth and increased oversight to those that exist.

Gonez, a heavy favorite among pro-charter groups and United Teachers LA, had major endorsements and a fundraising advantage compared to Rodríguez — who also opposes charter school growth — despite a slim voter approval margin.

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