Principals’ union endorses Schmerelson, and 3 incumbents
LA School Report | February 6, 2015
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The LA Unified principals’ union, Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, AALA, decided last night to endorse three of the four incumbents in the March 3 school board elections.
The exception is Scott Schmerelson, a former teacher and administrator who is one of five people challenging Tamar Galatzan in District 3.
Judith Perez, the AALA president, said Schmerelson won unanimous approval of the Representative Assembly, which voted on recommendations of a vetting panel from AALA’s political action committee.
The Assembly also approved endorsements for George McKenna in District 1, Bennett Kayser in District 5 and Richard Vladovic in District 7 — none of them a surprise. McKenna is running unopposed, and the two others had won AALA’s endorsement in previous board runs.
Among LA Unified’s other major labor partners, SEIU Local 99 endorsed all four incumbents, and UTLA, the teachers union, has endorsed only McKenna and Kayser.
Schmerelson, who spent 35 years in various educational capacities, was chosen for his overall understanding of how schools work and what students need, Perez said. “He also knows that administrators have been overwhelmed and overworked and not given adequate tools to get their jobs done,” she told LA School Report.
Four years ago, AALA also chose a challenger to Galatzan in Louis Pugliese.
Schmerelson said he excepted the endorsement on the strength of his close relationship with AALA, including his years as a member of its executive board. He was also a Secondary Director.
“I interacted with fellow administrators who had questions about memos, directives and communications from supervisors,” he told LA School Report in an email. “My goal was to be sure that all AALA members were treated fairly and that LAUSD supervisors followed the contract. I also would like to add that I was an advocate for other personnel at my schools including SEIU Local 99 members and [California School Employees Association] members. My connection with them was to be sure that they too were being treated fairly and that their supervisors were following the contract.”
Beyond the endorsements, AALA approved donating the maximum $1,100 to each of the candidates in contested races.
Perez said her organization interviewed all the candidates but one, Filiberto Gonzalez, another of Galatzan’s challengers, who did not respond to an interview request, she said. Each candidate was asked the same questions.
She said Vladovic won “a substantial majority” for the endorsement, following what she describe as “a spirited discussion.”
She said that “time and again he has supported out members. He won’t agree with us on every issue, and we don’t expect him to, but he talks to us, he shares our concerns and he engages with us.”
* Adds comments from Schmerelson.