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Mixed reactions to mixed results of LAUSD school board election

Craig Clough | May 20, 2015

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Supporters of Ref Rodriguez celebrate his victory in the LAUSD school board District 5 race. (Facebook)

Supporters of Ref Rodriguez celebrate his victory in the LAUSD school board District 5 race. (Facebook)

Anyone who is staunchly in the pro-reform or pro-union camp on LA Unified school board issues is probably feeling a little ambiguous today.

Despite two new faces coming to the board, the ideological balance of power remained the same, and reactions from the major players and supporters in the election has been mixed.

Here is a sampling of reactions:

  • From Students Matter: “Yesterday’s elections demonstrate once and for all that a ‘kids first’ agenda isn’t just smart policy, it’s also smart politics. We congratulate Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member-elect (Ref) Rodriguez and Board Member (Richard) Vladovic for their resounding victories in the LAUSD Board races.”
  • SEIU Local 99: “We are disappointed that Tamar Galatzan and Bennett Kayser will not continue their tenure on the school board. They have led the school district through difficult and changing times. We appreciate that their decisions were often made with an understanding that education extends beyond the walls of the classroom. We are hopeful that many of the issues they championed – including early education, technology, student nutrition, family wellness, and community outreach – will continue to be central and important issues addressed by the new board.””
  • Ama Nyamekye, executive director of Educators 4 Excellence: “The three seats on the LAUSD Board of Education up for election could lead to sweeping change in the nation’s second largest school district. The successors of this election will need to work together towards a collaborative, forward-looking agenda without being weighed down by past political battles.”
  • Ref Rodriguez: “This is a historic victory, as Los Angeles embraces positive change for our schools. The message of transforming middle schools and supporting innovation really resonated with voters. I am incredibly grateful for the support of so many parents, teachers, and students, who rallied to support our effort. This was a community effort and is a community victory.”
  •  Tamar Galatzan: I want to congratulate Scott Schmerelson on his successful campaign. The students and schools he will serve are among the best, brightest and most innovative in LAUSD, and I’m very proud to have represented them for the last eight years. I have great respect for my colleagues on the school board and what we have been able to accomplish during difficult financial times. I’m grateful to them for their commitment and dedication in helping our students succeed. Graduation rates and student achievement are improving, and our students are gaining the skills and knowledge to prepare them for college and the workforce.”
  • Gary Borden, executive director, CCSA Advocates: “In board district 5, we were proud to see the community, including so many charter school families, teachers and supporters, commit so much time and effort in this election. The community has clearly said they want a board member who understands all public school students and will work for all of them. It’s also clear that ideological extremism has no place on the school board. We’re confident that Ref Rodriguez will champion the rights and needs of students and families and will work tirelessly to improve the quality of all public schools – whether they’re charters, pilots, magnets, or traditional schools. In board district 3, we’re very disappointed to lose Tamar Galatzan, a trusted, highly respected, independent leader for schools in the San Fernando Valley and across the district. Given the particularly strong performance of charter schools in board district 3, we look forward to working with Mr. Schmerelson to ensure those schools continue to receive the support they need to keep excelling.”


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